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WOOD RECYCLERS INDUSTRY NEWS Fire safety guidance disappoints WRA W

ood recyclers that supply biomass plants in the UK are concerned

about the Environment Agency’s latest Fire Prevention Plan guidance, which was issued at the end of July.

Members of the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) report that they are extremely disappointed with the new FPP guidance, which they say could affect the supply of biomass fuel to UK boilers. Andy Hill, Chairman of the WRA, said the guidance, which replaces the controversial FPP v2 guidance issued last year, has changed very little for wood recyclers.

“We have asked all along that the Agency allows us to work with them to achieve safer industry standards and we don’t feel this has happened,” said Andy. “Instead we now have new

guidance, which in some cases is worse than the previous guidance for our sector and, in particular, for recyclers that supply wood chip to biomass plants.

“Time will now tell whether the Agency will approve bespoke permits for sites that require them – the majority of our membership – in a way that allows our industry to continue operating in a safe and profi table manner. “We sincerely hope that local

offi cers will have been empowered and trained effectively to allow them to assess bespoke permits on the merits of each individual operation. This fl exibility will be essential if our country is to continue to enjoy such high wood

recovery from landfi ll,” he added. The WRA is concerned the guidance is trying to make one size fi t all. In particular, it is concerned about stack sizes, which have been reduced by half from the original guidance (TGN7.01), to four metres high. The WRA feels this is too restrictive, particularly for larger businesses, which will need to acquire additional land to be able to store the amounts of materials they need in order to operate.

It is also concerned about stock rotation, believing that turning stacks for the sake of doing so increases the degradation of the pile, which could add moisture to the centre of the stack, increasing

the risk of hot spots. The WRA says if the correct detection systems are in place stock rotation is irrelevant and does not add any benefi t to a site’s fi re management plan.

Other issues it is concerned about include the six-month storage limit, which it says is too restrictive, does not take seasonality into account and has no scientifi c evidence to support it. “With the right measures in place we would like to see the allowance of larger stack sizes in bespoke permits. Our fear, however, is the new standard rules guidance has introduced even tighter measures meaning the move from these to what may be required for bespoke permits – on sites with excellent management – is too big a leap,” concluded Andy Hill.

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