Waste management operators and a raft of other bodies are working to produce guidance on fire safety, which could be ready by the spring.
The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) and Tyre Recovery Association are consulting on the content of guidance on safe storage of combustible materials with their members, as well as the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Chief Fire Officers Association.
The increasing prevalence of fires at recycling and waste management sites in recent years, as reported by MRW, has raised concern in the industry with some observers citing the increased number of operators and larger stockpiles of material at sites for the rise in incidents.
Although there are existing guidelines and regulations (see below) that include fire safety including anti-pollution guidance and combustible materials guidance, some recycling bodies feel that more specific guidance is needed for different types of operators.
Peter Butt, executive director of the WRA said: “Current guidance is generic and more a one-size-fits-all solution that is not really workable for us. There are a lot of variables about the storage of materials, how far apart piles of material are and what other measures there are at a site to prevent fires. We want to have something that is safe but also allows us to work to our full potential.
“It is hopeful that we can reach agreement on this and get it ready for some time in the spring.”
The Chief Fire Officers Association said that it could not comment on the content of guidance for recyclers but a spokesperson said that it was “around 97%” there”, with only negotiations on the detail left.
The Environment Agency and SEPA are responsible for overseeing the permitting of sites and laying down conditions regarding storage of materials.
Other guidance and regulations include:
- Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) for the waste management industry.
- DSEAR 2002 more generally
- HSE publication Storing hazardous wastes at household waste recycling centres