Over the last five years, about 40,000 tons of animals waste, boiled and ground down, has accumulated in warehouses at 15 UK locations.

Disposal of animal waste from the BSE slaughter programme has been difficult because of a lack of incinerators, and the government is spending £40m every year in a bid to keep the remains of BSE-infected cows safe, according to an industry source.  

The waste industry worker revealed to The Telegraph newspaper that some companies were imposing a daily charge of £250 per square foot for storing the hazardous material: "If they were storing non-hazardous waste, they might expect about £1.50 per square foot a day for storing it."

"This BSE mountain is growing," he added: "It is stored in ordinary warehouses and there could even be a threat to public health. It's an enormous problem that's got to be looked at properly."