UK’s First Fire Prevention Plan Allows 8 Metre High Stacks

UK Wood Recycling Ltd, part of the Hadfield Group of companies, has received the UK’s first Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) allowing stack sizes of up to eight metres high.

The Middlesbrough-based company has been working with the Environment Agency for the past three years to achieve the non-standard FPP, the first of its kind which allows stacks of waste wood to be stored at up to eight metres high assuming a number of other specific additional measures are in place on the site. The increased stack heights will enable the business to manage the peaks in the seasonality of waste wood.

Geoff Hadfield, Group MD for UK Wood Recycling (UKWR) and Hadfield Wood Recyclers, said the years of hard work the company had put into achieving this goal had been worth the effort and the wait.

“It is pleasing that UKWR have fully engaged with the EA throughout this process and have provided robust evidence to support their FPP application. The EA have entered into open and honest dialogue with UKWR, and all concerns raised have been fully addressed by UKWR.”

“When the new guidance was first introduced in 2015 we immediately flagged that it was too restrictive for a business of our scale. However, through collaboration at a local and national level and significant investment in additional science and infrastructure, both sides have learned and gained a greater understanding of the real issues involved in ensuring the minimal impact of any incident, whilst allowing a business to continue to trade,” said Geoff.

“It is with tremendous pride that we now have a non-standard FPP in place on this site and one which allows us to carry out the work we do and honour the large-scale contracts we have with our customers. The issue for us was always about finding a way that we could store enough material to deliver the scale of the contracts we have with customers, whilst reassuring the Environment Agency that we were not posing an undue fire or environmental risk.

“This is recognition that anything can be achieved if you work hard enough and are willing to work with your regulators and they are open to understanding the issues you face as a bonafide operator acting in a professional manner,” added Geoff.

Peter Buckley, Senior Adviser at the Environment Agency (Fire Prevention Plans), said: “We have been working hard with UKWR over the last few years to approve a suitable FPP for the Middlesbrough site.

“It is pleasing that UKWR have fully engaged with the EA throughout this process and have provided robust evidence to support their FPP application. The EA have entered into open and honest dialogue with UKWR, and all concerns raised have been fully addressed by UKWR.

“The alternative measures proposed in the FPP application have been thoroughly tested and are deemed to meet the three core objectives set out in the FPP guidance. As can be seen in this case, it is important for site operators to fully engage with the EA to ensure that satisfactory outcomes are achieved for both parties.”


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  1. I think the key messages from the excellent work by the WRA and the EA are:
    Site specific assessments
    Simple risk matrix for particle size/stage of processing – simple but a real step forward – this could be the model for other substrates and wastes.
    Prevention requires temperature measure and is the best way of justifying changes to standard EA limits on stack heights, duration and other changes within your FPP.
    Prevent stops the environmental consequences – but you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
    Don’t forget consistency across all other documents.
    Full engage workforce, neighbours and regulatory authorities.
    This should greatly improve the time required to complete the assessments of FPPs.

    [This comment has been edited by the CIWM Journal team]

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