[27/01/2017] Since the Environment Agency released the new Fire Prevention Guidance Version 3 back in July 2016 there have been a number of changes made, which have added to the complexity of producing and successfully achieving approval of a site Fire Prevention Plan. Specifically, the newly introduced 4-hour burn time objective has proven controversial across the industry, although the EA has elaborated that this is a target and not a strict deadline (see http://www.ciwm-journal.co.uk/ea-publishes-reponses-revised-waste-fire-guidance-consultation/).
The emphasis seems to be on providing a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the entire waste industry regardless of what sector you operate in. Consequently, different trade organisations are currently in discussion with the Environment Agency hoping to change the guidance to incorporate different parameters and operational requirements applicable to each sector of the waste industry. Further to this point, the Environment Agency does seem open to different ways of aiding the waste industry as highlighted by the recent news that the Environment Agency will be working with the Wood Recyclers’ Association on a standard wood sector template (see http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/template-work-to-go-ahead-for-wood-sector/).
Although there is an undercurrent of uncertainty over the future direction of Fire Prevention Guidance it is important not to delay implementation of the new guidance on site, as this can have financial implications for operators not meeting requirements. UK Wood Recycling Ltd was recently fined £143,335 for storage of waste wood in a way likely to cause pollution (see http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/uk-wood-recycling-fined-over-teesside-wood-piles/). This signifies the importance of producing and implementing a workable Fire Prevention Plan.
As can be seen from the current climate, the issues surrounding the newly introduced Fire Prevention Guidance are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. WRM will endeavour to keep you updated as the situation progresses.
If you require assistance in producing or updating your site’s Fire Prevention Plan, please contact our Senior Permitting Consultant Thomas Broderick (firstname.lastname@example.org ).