Concerns expressed over latest fire guidance

The Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) has expressed disappointment at the Environment Agency’s (EA) new fire guidance for waste operators.

After months of consultation, the EA has published its updated Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) guidance, which sets out the minimum regulatory standards expected of operators of permitted waste sites that are storing combustible waste.
Since the original proposals were released, industry figures, including the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA), have repeatedly criticised the measures put forward. The WRA says it is concerned about a number of issues, such as stock rotation, four-hour burn time and stack sizes, which were raised as areas of concern in the former guidance.

Andy Hill, Chairman of the WRA, said the guidance has changed very little for wood recyclers and the WRA fears new rules are too prohibitive for companies who need to apply for bespoke permits, including those who supply biomass plants.

“Whilst we understand the consultation will have received a combination of positive and negative responses we are nonetheless disappointed to see none of the points raised by our industry have been taken into account.

“We have asked all along that the EA allow us to work with them to achieve safer industry standards and we don’t feel this is happening. Instead we now have new guidance, which in some cases is worse than the previous guidance for our sector.

“Time will now tell whether the EA will approve bespoke permits for sites that require them – the majority of our membership – in a way which allows our industry to continue operating in a safe and profitable manner.”

Tests to provide empirical evidence for fire regulation have been taking place across different materials grades. These will not be completed until the autumn so have not fed into the latest guidance.

You can read the full response to the guidance from the WRA on its website.

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