The Environment Agency has published updated regulatory guidance to help reduce the risk and impact of fires at regulated waste sites. The new Fire Prevention Plan guidance has been published (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-prevention-plans-environmental-permits) 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 (161 responses). These response were fed into the decisions made by the Environment Agency when updating the guidance.
The EA say that 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 harm to the environment, affect ?the health of residents living nearby and impact 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. The EA 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 they have derived the standards within the guidance. It will also include a report produced by Steve Manchester, Director of Fire Safety Group at BRE Global, which peer reviews the EA's guidance and provides the results of additional testing. It will also contain information relating to a number of waste fire incidents that the EA have responded to in the last few years.
The EA recognised that finalising and publication of the guidance was a priority for industry, in response to this they have focused their efforts and resource to deliver this first and the consultation response shortly afterwards.