Waste sector output fell in January, adding to fears of an economic contraction in the first quarter.
Official figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a 0.2% fall in output between December 2012 and January 2013.
The seasonally adjusted index of production for the sector decreased by 2.2% compared with January 2012.
ONS said the main year-on-year movements in the waste and water industry group were a 9.1% fall in the waste collection, treatment and disposal sector and a 12.5% drop in remediation and other waste services.
The monthly statistics recorded a 1.2% month-on-month fall in output for the productive industries, and a 2.9% decline since last January (see graph).
The gloomy figures, which came ahead of next Wednesday’s budget, added to fears of a triple-dip recession.
The last recorded growth month for the waste and water industry group was August 2012 which saw a 1% rise in output.