Trade associations across the waste sector have joined forces to lobby the Environment Agency (EA) about its Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) guidance.
The agency’s latest version of FPP, version three, has been heavily criticised since its publication in July.
Despite attempts to reassure operators that standards, including stack size limits for different materials and a maximum four-hour burn time, would not be rigidly enforced, many across the sector have continued to voice concern about their ability to continue operating.
Now the Resource Association, the United Resource Operators Consortium (UROC), the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) and the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA) have united in their efforts to communicate with the EA on the issue.
The trade bodies have said their joint concerns include an “inconsistent” approach to FPP enforcement by the EA from region to region, and called for guidance that is tailored to each sector.
WRA chair Andy Hill said he hoped the group would give operators a stronger voice with which to raise their “industry-wide” concerns.
He said: “We’ve been saying for a long time that the FPP guidance is unworkable for wood operators and, as the months have passed, that has become more and more obvious.
“Many site operators are now facing delays in having bespoke environmental permits approved because they cannot achieve the requirements for an FPP.”
TRA secretary general Peter Taylor said: “For many years the TRA and other associations have independently tried to engage with the EA on this critical subject.
“Despite those efforts, the EA has never listened to the point. I am delighted we are now moving forward as a joint force to further those discussions with the EA before our industry suffers any further.”
UROC chief executive Jenny Watts said: “Our members have expressed frustration in respect of the difficulties they are experiencing in implementing the onerous conditions of the FPP guidance, with little support from central permitting when processing applications, and a serious lack of knowledge in relation to local EA officers’ interpretation.
“We are hopeful that, by joining together with other trade associations who we know are hearing the same issues from their members, it will finally show the EA these are real problems and not isolated to just a few operators.”