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Fire authority concerned at red tape cut

The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) is concerned that cutting waste regulations could increase the risk of illegal operations.

In its response to the Government’s Cutting Red Tape consultation, the organisation warned that this would have a detrimental impact on compliant businesses.

It said it has tackled fires at approximately 50 waste sites across London during the past two years, including 83 call-outs to blazes at a particular ‘problem’ site, which the authority has also visited 291 times to monitor.

“This demonstrates the continuing need for robust regulation and control of fire risks at waste sites to reduce the risks of fire starting in the first place,” its response said.

Operators would benefit if the Fire Service and Environment Agency were to collaborate on applications for permits, according to the LFEPA, which recognised the need to minimise delays in application responses.

The LFEPA has been the regulator for the Fire Safety Order, legislation which requires employers at workplaces including waste sites to have completed fire risk assessments, since 2006.

The authority suggested combining the fire risk assessment and fire prevention plan documentation to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses, because they both cover similar subjects.

London Fire Brigade confirmed that the problem site LFEPA referred to is the Waste4Fuel Orpington dump, which it recently estimated it has spent 3,000 working hours and £914,000 tackling since January 2012.

The Cutting Red Tape consultation, which runs until 14 September, was introduced by the Government in a bid to reduce business costs across the economy by £10bn through removing unnecessary regulation.

The waste sector is one of five industry areas subject to the review of “unnecessary regulation and its poor implementation” and to “identify unnecessary barriers to growth and productivity”.

Eight of LFEPA’s 17 members are nominated from the London Assembly, seven from the London boroughs and two are Mayoral appointees.

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