Small Sussex businesses could be bankrupt by Christmas after the closure of a landfill site.

The inert landfill site at Golding Barn, Small Dole, near Henfield, was shut down after its operator breached its waste limit by 50%.

But the closure has plunged independent businesses into turmoil with independent tipper firms and small builders watching rubble pile up.

Grab and tipper truck firms take rubble excavated from building jobs to special landfill sites, but cannot afford to transport it to the next nearest site at Bognor Regis.

Fiona Cave, of MRL Grab & Tip Limited, said: “As of yesterday, my business is worthless.

“There are no other inert landfill sites in the area - the next one being near Chichester and since my lorries only do six miles to the gallon, and it would take me hours to do a return trip from my base in Burgess Hill, my charge to my customer of £170 per load plus VAT would not even cover the cost of running the lorry.

“Basically I am shutting down the businesses of so many local trades-people because I cannot do my job, through no fault of my own.

“I have been informed by the Environment Agency that the tip might be opened up after Christmas - we will all be bankrupt before then.

“This situation is not just affecting my company but all the grab and tipper lorries and small builders in the Sussex area.”

The Environment Agency said it shut the site down the Golding Barn site after serious breaches of a waste permit.

A spokesman said: “There have been historical concerns associated with the importation of waste to the site.

“The site is located in close proximity to local drinking water supplies and we have taken this action to ensure they and the local environment are both protected.

“The operator seriously breached its agreed limit by having about 50% more material on site than otherwise allowed in the conditions of their permit.

"We are currently considering options on how we get the site to comply with the agreed conditions stated in its permit.”