The Environment Agency (EA) is producing a template for wood recyclers applying for fire prevention plan (FPP) approval following criticism of its latest guidance.
Wood recyclers have described the FPP guidance as “unworkable” due to tighter limits on stack sizes and burn times.
Since the revised guidance was issued in July, fewer than half of plans have been approved by the EA. Of 361 plans it has received, 169 have been approved to date.
According to the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA), the EA’s director of regulated industry Marie Fallon has said that two EA officers will work alongside the association to develop an FPP template.
WRA chair Andy Hill said: “She appreciates we are not trying to skirt around the issue of waste fires and we recognise the need for industry standards to be raised in this area.
“However, as we have been repeatedly saying for a long time, we need to work with the EA to help them see one size of guidance does not fit all operators, and some of the current guidance is simply unworkable for some businesses.
“Hopefully, we will now be able to address those specific issues directly and come up with guidance that achieves the aims of the EA while allowing bona fide recyclers to stay in business.”
Fallon told a WRA members meeting that there had been 262 incidents involving fires on waste sites in the UK since 2012, and 24 of those involved wood.
The EA is also working with the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management on training packages for the industry, and is keen to work with the WRA on developing a broader code of practice for wood recyclers.
It currently has a centralised assessment panel reviewing all FPPs which are submitted for approval, but this will be phased out in the new year with regional teams taking over.