It is not unusual for equipment to be abandoned once it has reached the end of it useful life and when the cost of recovery becomes prohibitively expensive; at the end of a military campaign, for example, or the aftermath of an Arctic expedition.
But the idea of burying a perfectly good excavator in the midst of a major capital city is a new concept for us here at Diggers and Dozers.
And yet, according to an article in the respected New Statesman magazine, that is precisely what is happening in London as owners of some of the capital’s most expensive houses extend their properties downwards to make way for swimming pools and home cinemas.
According to the article, basement conversion specialists have mastered the art of shoe-horning a digger into a cramped back garden; but they are yet to fathom an economic way to extract them afterwards. Estimates suggest that there could be as many as 1,000 buried diggers propping up some of London’s most sought-after houses.
Call me sceptical, though, but I just wonder about the validity of this story. Sure, there has been an unprecedented boom in the creation of “mega-basements” in London (and elsewhere). And yes, the Russian oligarchs and premiership footballers that own these houses are notoriously profligate with their cash. But for every multi-millionaire willing to splash £10 million to avoid rubbing shoulders with the proletariat whilst watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster, there is a plant hirer for whom each excavator is a valuable asset.
Are they REALLY walking away, leaving several thousands of pounds worth of assets to rot in the London clay?
What do you think?