Almost 300 waste sites in England are at “increased risk” of fire, an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA) has revealed.
Resource minister Dan Rogerson reported the figure in a parliamentary debate on fire at waste management sites and said that last year the EA had set up a dedicated group to review how to tackle the problem.
As part of the initiative, the agency conducted a “screening exercise” to identify facilities where fire risk was increased because the scale of a possible blaze or the potential hazard to people and the environment.
As a result, 80 sites were identified as posing a “very high risk” of impact if a fire occurred. Another 215 sites were considered to be “medium-risk”.
“The agency is taking action to reduce risks at [very high risk] sites to acceptable levels, and I am seeking regular updates on progress,” said Rogerson.
He added that a series of initiatives from Government and industry were underway to tackle the problem of fires at recycling facility.
Rogerson referred to the recent draft fire safety management guidance and best practice, which is under consultation and will be finalised by the end of the year.
And the Chief Fire Officers Association was in the process of signing a national memorandum, he said, which would promote cooperation and data sharing.
Defra was also reviewing the possibility of linking insurance with environmental permits, he noted.
The debate was secured by Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith.