A new campaign aims to reduce the number of deliberate attacks on trade waste, saving personal injury, loss of life and an estimated £1 million each year.
Making local traders and businesses aware of the serious fire risk caused by poorly managed waste containment is the core objective of the new initiative launched by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and Stockport Council.
GMFRS deputy borough commander Dave Kirkham said: “Our crews now spend less time on fires and more time providing advice on safety and best practice. This campaign will be delivered locally by our fire crews working in partnership with Stockport Council.
With the Economic Cost of Fire Estimates for 2004, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minster suggesting that the average cost of fires to businesses in England Wales was £44,388 per blaze, the matter is of pressing concern.
In Stockport alone, deliberate fires in 2005/06 that involved rubbish and waste containers increased from 632 to 817, representing a cost to the community in excess of £2.1 million.
The campaign has been supported by consultancy firm Taylor, with the company providing steel wheeled containers that avoid the incendiary affect of plastic containers on fire.
A Stockport Council spokesman said: “We service over 2,000 businesses every week and we are pleased to be involved with this initiative which will have an impact in reducing incidences of fires in waste containers.
“Criminal damage and arson are becoming key issues and this innovative campaign between Safer Stockport members and Taylor will assist greatly in tackling them.”