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Further revision of fire guidance possible after tests

2000 fire generic

The Environment Agency (EA) has said its latest fire guidance for waste operators could be revised again as tyre recyclers expressed their dissatisfaction.

The EA published version three of its Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) guidance on 29 July, including four-hour maximum burn times, six-month maximum storage and lower stack heights for combustible waste.

It was met with disappointment from wood recyclers, which criticised the EA for publishing guidance without waiting for empirical evidence.

Fire tests run by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum have been taking place across different materials grades, but they will not be completed until the autumn.

Now an EA spokesperson has said, less than a week after the latest guidance was published, that upcoming results from the fire tests could lead to a further revision.

“The FPP guidance has been informed by our own waste fire incident response data. The guidance has been peer-reviewed by Building Research Establishment Global fire experts to ensure it is robust.

“Once the WISH fire tests have been independently peer-reviewed, we will consider whether they provide new information which would merit a further revision of the FPP guidance.”

Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) secretary general Peter Taylor said it was ”a disgrace” that guidance had been published before the tests were completed.

“In the meantime they put out this fire guidance that really is a set of regulations. The moment they are issued our members start to be harassed, even though they are based on very poor fire science.

“We’ve been working with the EA on this for at least the past three-and-a-half years and we have made no progress at all.

“The stack sizes and separation distances are absolutely unworkable. They render our members’ operations uneconomic. In some cases they are going to reduce capacity by about 50%.”

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