The Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) is working with the Environment Agency (EA) to look at the classification of hazardous waste wood in the UK.
The WRA says it was approached by the EA following concerns that lower grade waste wood was being used as a fuel in some non-WID (Waste Incineration Directive) compliant biomass boilers.
With new EU guidance coming into force in the next 12 months, the WRA has now formed a group of industry representatives to work alongside EA officers to better define what hazardous waste wood is, identify best practice for front-end assessment by wood recyclers and reprocessors, and develop a Code of Practice for the sector.
It is thought that the new guidance, which will require mixed waste wood streams to be fully assessed before being processed, could have a significant impact on the waste wood processing sector, as well as potentially on operations at local authority civic amenity sites.
Commenting on the work Andy Hill, chair of the WRA, said: “It is positive that, following our work with the EA on the issue of fire prevention plans (FPP), they have come to us to proactively discuss this issue and seek advice and opinions from the wood recyclers. No-one should be under any illusion of the potentially significant adverse impact if we don’t collectively find a workable solution to this.
“We are in the very early stages of this project but we are hopeful that we will be able to find an outcome that will satisfy both the Environment Agency and the industry as a whole. Most treatments used on wood today will not be hazardous, whilst others will only be hazardous at certain concentrations, so we feel confident we will be able to ensure the WRA leads the way with a set of appropriate standards for defining hazardous wood.”
In the UK over 77 per cent of processed waste wood goes into the two main end uses: energy recovery and panel board. This amounts to 3.8 million tonnes, with an additional 1.6 million tonnes of capacity at new waste wood power plants due to come on stream this year. These facilities are WID compliant and burn the waste wood as a fuel to produce power and/or combined heat and power.
Andy added: “The waste wood sector makes an invaluable contribution to the UK’s energy security and, in conjunction with other current end markets for waste wood such as animal bedding and surfaces, the WRA is confident the new infrastructure will continue to make this market stronger. We are therefore committed to finding a practical solution that works for all parties and raises standards across the waste industry.”
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