Virtually all sectors of the waste management industry are involved in work to help develop better fire prevention planning within the sector.
Trade associations and companies are behind the measures which are being produced by industry with the Chief Fire Officers Association. These are likely to feed into plans which will form part of the permit process under which waste management sites are regulated.
The storage of materials for recycling and the separation distances and heights of piles, from wood through to tyres, plastics and shredder residue are under discussion. And the findings of the research trial are expected to be of interest to industry generally.
However, because of the additional costs of implementing fire measures and partly because it is an inexact science, there are concerns from some companies that some of the measures might be unnecessarily strict and put an unbearable cost burden on businesses.
Mark Andrews, CFOA lead for waste and recycling fires, said: “These tests are ground-breaking for both the fire and waste industry. By establishing this scientific data we will influence future fire safety guidance with a view to preventing these fires occurring in the first place. The tests are also an opportunity to test both traditional and contemporary firefighting techniques to assess what methods are the most effective in order to influence future operational guidance.”
And, Mr Andrews emphasised: “Our closer working partnership with the Environment Agency and waste sector will ensure we will minimise the negative impact of these events on the surrounding environment and communities if and when they do occur.”