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Wood recycler boosts security after suspected arson

Recycling firm South West Wood Products (SWWP) has introduced an out-of-hours security patrol of its site after a suspected arson was tackled at the weekend.

Three crews of fire-fighters were sent to a blaze at the firm’s facility on Ashcott Road, Meare, on 24 February.

The blaze was tackled within five hours, with Glastonbury fire station praising colleagues and the company in helping to tackle the blaze.

SWWP said 100 tonnes of wood product was destroyed, as part of the 380 tonnes stockpile that caught light.

No damage was done to the plant’s infrastructure, which turns waste wood into biofuel, raw material for board mills and agricultural products, and it was able to reopen on 27 February.

Following the fire, which the company said it believes was started by “someone with a grudge against it”, the firm has brought forward plans to introduce an out-of-hours security patrol with immediate effect.

The company had already planned the new measure as part of a bespoke fire prevention plan (FPP) that it is working on with the Environment Agency (EA).

Like other wood recyclers, SWWP has struggled to meet the original FPP guidance and has been working to develop an alternative plan, which it is waiting for the EA to approve.

The firm’s environmental consultant Lucy Binnie told MRW the company had been working with the local fire service prior to the blaze on methods to respond to fires.

She said: “It has shown how well we operate in these circumstances and, hopefully, it is going to give more comfort to the EA because it does represent a test.”

Meanwhile, this week the Wood Recyclers Association said it had held its initial meeting with the EA to develop a framework for operators applying for a bespoke permit.

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