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EA approves first tailored fire plan for wood stacking


UK Wood Recycling (UKWR) has received permission from the Environment Agency (EA) to stack wood up to 8m high, following an agreement with the industry over adapting fire prevention plans (FPPs).

UKWR said it had been working with the EA during the past three years on an FPP at its Middlesbrough site. The company said the plan allowed waste wood to be stored at up to 8m, “assuming a number of other specific additional measures are in place on-site”.

Increasing stack heights will enable the business to manage peaks in the seasonality of waste wood.

The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) recently signed off a sector-specific guide for wood FPPs after two years of negotiation.

The industry has been concerned ablout the FPPs’ latest iteration because of the potentially negative impact on trade due to stacking restrictions.

Geoff Hadfield, group managing director for UKWR and Hadfield Wood Recyclers, said guidance on FPPs issued in 2015 had been “too restrictive”.

“However, through collaboration at a local and national level, and significant investment in additional science and infrastructure, both sides have learned and gained a greater understanding of the real issues involved in ensuring the minimal impact of any incident, while allowing a business to continue to trade,” he added.

“It is with tremendous pride that we now have a non-standard FPP in place on this site, which allows us to carry out the work we do and honour the large-scale contracts we have with our customers.

“The issue for us was always about finding a way that we could store enough material to deliver the scale of the contracts while reassuring the EA that we were not posing an undue fire or environmental risk.”

Peter Buckley, EA senior adviser, said: “It is pleasing that UKWR have fully engaged with the EA throughout this process and have provided robust evidence to support its FPP application.

”The EA has entered into open and honest dialogue with UKWR, and all concerns raised have been fully addressed by the company.

“The alternative measures proposed in the FPP application have been thoroughly tested and are deemed to meet the three core objectives set out in the FPP guidance.

”As can be seen in this case, it is important for site operators to fully engage with the EA to ensure that satisfactory outcomes are achieved for both parties.”

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