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Fire prevention plan guidance published

Fires destroy both lives and businesses in our industry and fire prevention is key to controlling the risk.

Last month, the Environment Agency published updated regulatory guidance to help reduce the risk and impact of fires at regulated waste sites. This comes after a three month consultation with industry, local authorities, regulators and the general public.

The consultation saw an encouraging level of interest with responses received from a broad range of stakeholders. In all, 161 responses were received. These responses were fed into the decisions made by the Environment Agency when updating the guidance.

The revised guidance should help to reduce the numbers of fires at waste sites in England. The changes promote a risk-based approach to preventing fires and minimising the impact of fires where they do occur, especially when a local community or critical infrastructure would be affected.

Nicky Cunningham, Deputy Director of Site-Based Regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “Waste fires can cause harm to the environment and affect the health of residents living nearby, while at the same time, impacting on critical infrastructure such as roads and railway lines. Our new guidance is part of our ongoing efforts to decrease major waste fires and reduce their impact.

The consultation response is in the final stages of editing before publication, and will be published on ‘gov.uk’ by the end of August. We have used the responses received as part of the consultation to refine the guidance and to ensure that it is risk based and proportionate.

The consultation response will provide the evidence base and explanation of how we have derived the standards within the guidance. It will include a report produced by Steve Manchester, Director of Fire Safety Group at BRE Global, which peer reviews our guidance and provides the results of additional testing. It will also contain information relating to a number of waste fire incidents that we have responded to in the last few years.

We recognised that finalising and publication of the guidance was a priority for industry, in response to this we have focused our efforts and resource to deliver this first and the consultation response shortly afterwards.”

We are aware the MVDA are currently working hard behind the scenes with the EA to try and encourage a more sector specific approach to fire prevention as they recognise that much of the new guidelines for the waste sector as a whole are not directly applicable to the vehicle dismantling sector, and that this industry has it’s own specific risks. We shall keep you up to date of future developments.

In the meantime, the guidance is available here.

September 2016

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