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Waste fire research published

New guidance on waste fires has been published by the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) after a two-year programme of tests.

The revised guidance was produced by WISH’s waste fires working group, supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Natural Resources Wales.

WISH first published guidance in 2014 but followed that up with a series of tests at remote former RAF airfields in 2015 and 2016 that cost £170,000.

Geoff Smallwood, chair of the WISH working group, said: “When we released our first waste guidance … we acknowledged it would need revising as understanding and knowledge about waste fires developed.

“Key in this development of understanding has been the waste burn tests conducted through 2015 and 2016. To our knowledge, these are the most extensive series of waste burn tests ever conducted.”

Smallwood thanked those who had carried out the tests and the NFCC, Wood Recyclers Association and ESA members who contributed towards the costs.

He said the guidance was intended to provide waste operators with the information to reduce the risk of fires on their sites and, where fires occurred, to reduce their impact.

“Our industry is still recording too many fires each year. This has to change, and we believe the revised WISH fires guidance is a key step to reducing fire risk at waste management sites.”

A summary of the results of the tests is available on the WISH website as well as the revised guidance.

The guidance will be formally launched at a seminar hosted by the Chief Fire Officers Association at the National Fire College at Moreton-in-Marsh on 23 June.

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