AS THE Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) enters 2019, the organisation are the first trade body to launch a sector-specific Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) Guide.
As a legal requirement for all sites storing combustible materials, the WRA guide leads operators through a process to give them the best chance of getting approval for their FPP.
The guide outlines the different fraction sizes of waste wood to be stored and the differences in their storage requirements, as well as talking about seasonality challenges faced by the industry and how to explain these in an FPP.
Julia Turner, Executive Director of the WRA, said: “We would like to thank everyone at the EA and our sector partners for helping us to get to this point.”
WRA is the first trade body to launch a sector-specific guide for its members which can lead to many more wood recyclers and reprocessors gaining FPP approvals.
Companies across the UK are already applying for the sector-specific FFP, with UK Wood Recycling Ltd (UKWR), part of the Hadfield Group of companies, receiving the UK’s first FPP allowing stack sizes of up to eight metres high.
The Middlesbrough-based company has been working with the EA 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 UKWR said: “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, both tiers have learned and gained a greater understanding of ensuring the minimal impact of any incident, while allowing a business to continue to trade.
“We now have a non-standard FPP in place which allows us to carry out the work we do and honour the large-scale contracts we have with our customers.”
The issue for UKWR was finding a way to store enough material to deliver the large-scale contracts, while reassuring the EA the company are meeting standard practice in order to reduce both fire and environmental risk.
Continuation of major contracts
Established in 2007, UKWR had a 10-year contract to supply 80,000 tonnes a year of biomass fuel to the Wilton 10, which is owned by energy company Sembcorp Utilities (UK) Ltd.
Its sector-specific FFP has allowed UKWR to sign another contract with Sembcorp to continue supplying the fuel until 2027. UKWR sources waste wood locally and nationally, on short and long-term contracts, before manufacturing it to the high-specification fuel required.
The UKWR plant was built to have a capacity of up to 200,000 tonnes of wood per year and currently manufactures panel board and animal bedding feedstock as well as the high quality biomass fuel, which is classed as some of the best biomass fuel in Europe as a result of the cleaning process it goes through.
In total the company has invested £1.5 million on improvements in fire detection and suppression systems and infrastructure, to make both the original and new site world-class in terms of health and safety.
Over the past three years UKWR has doubled its site size by taking out a long-term lease on another 10 acres of adjacent land, bringing the total to 21 acres.
Regarding other fire prevention investments, UKWR have installed more outside hydrants and remote-controlled water cannons in the storage building, a fully concreted impervious surface as well as 24/7 security.
Thumbnail image: (left to right) Peter Buckley, FPP Specialist at the EA; Julia Turner, WRA Executive Director; and WRA Chair Andy Hill