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Satisfying EA requirements for Fire Prevention Plans

Fire Prevention Plans (FPP) are often required by the Environment Agency (EA) for a variety of sites in the waste sector. There is a perception that it is notoriously difficult to get the EA to sign off on a site’s FPP, primarily due to the requirements stipulated within the EA Guidance which many sites find challenging to implement. Typically, the most challenging aspects of completing an FPP are;

  • ensuring that a site has a sufficient supply of water for fighting fires, and;
  • the subsequent disposal of the water used to extinguish the fire.

Adequate water supply

According to the EA guidance:

You’ll need a water supply of at least 2,000 litres a minute for a minimum of 3 hours for a 300 cubic metre pile of combustible material”

Therefore, if your largest pile of combustible material on site is 300m3 you would require a supply of 360,000 litres (360m3) of water to satisfy the EA’s requirements. The water requirements vary according to the maximum pile size on a site, for example a site with a largest pile size of 750m3 would require a water supply of 900,000 litres (900m3).

Ensuring that you have sufficient water capacity on site can be challenging, and identifying adequate storage on your site, or the presence of nearby fire-hydrants, can help to meet these requirements.

Adequate Disposal of Fire Water

Once water has been used to extinguish a fire, it becomes “firewater” in the eyes of the EA. Firewater cannot just be allowed to drain to land as it is likely to have become contaminated by substances in the waste, and/or firefighting surfactants. Therefore, the EA require you not only to have adequate water supply, but to also have an adequate system in place to collect and/or dispose of the firewater. The EA’s requirements for collection/disposal of contaminated firewater can often seem prohibitive and perhaps more importantly, significantly costly. In our experience of writing FPPs for clients across the waste industry, WRM have encountered these issues and been able to guide our clients to the most cost-effective means of meeting the EA’s stringent demands. Contact our environmental permitting team to find out more about how your site can conform the FPP requirements.


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