- The British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) is working with the U.K.'s Environment Agency on new fire prevention guidelines, but has concerns about how some of the government's recommendations could affect businesses, as reported by LetsRecycle.com.
- The agency has put out updated guidance for recycling facility operators to create fire prevention plans (FPP) that will require government approval. Main recommendations include that waste shouldn't be stored for more than six months and stacks should be at least six meters apart and no more than four meters high.
- Many operators represented by the BMRA say these requirements will make it more challenging to do business and are hoping to reach some type of compromise.
The Environment Agency recently agreed to coordinate with wood recyclers on similar FPP guidance and will do the same with the BMRA. Industry representatives have been meeting with government officials for months and will host their own meeting next month to reach an agreement on what type FPP details they could support.
Last year, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association signed a memorandum of understanding with the Environment Agency to work on reducing fires at waste facilities and putting out the ones that do occur more quickly. This included plans to test the flammability of certain materials and offer guidance on details such as stack size and storage specifications. The organization says that the number of fires at U.K. waste facilities has remained consistent around 250 per year for the past 10 years.
Fires at waste facilities are an ongoing issue for the U.S. waste industry as well and no clear statistics have been maintained for how frequently they occur. Sometimes these incidents can be relatively minor, though if safety precautions haven't been followed they can quickly consume entire buildings. Striking a balance between following fire regulations and operating efficient businesses can be difficult, but is necessary to ensure that companies still have facilities to operate.