Association News

CFOA works with key partners in the wake of another serious recycling plant fire

CFOA works with key partners in the wake of another serious recycling plant fire

Yet another serious fire has occurred at a UK waste recycling site, this time in Stockport Greater Manchester, such fires have the potential to burn for days, even weeks and can have a huge impact not only on the local community and environment but also to the economy via enforced road closures and the commitment of significant firefighting resources.

Indeed, last month’s fire in Smethwick alone caused over £6m worth of damage and saw more than 200 fire-fighters tackling what has been described as “The largest fire ever seen in the West Midlands”.

In recent years Fire and Rescue Services in the UK have attended an increasing number of fires at sites that store and process a diverse range of waste materials;  such as imported pulverised plastic car parts, baled recycled plastic, power station fuel (for export), waste oil, pulverised organic matter and electrical equipment e.g., computer screen monitors.

Therefore, in an effort to reduce the potential for such fires to occur and mitigate the impacts of those that do, CFOA are working in partnership with organisations such as the Environment Agency and the Wood & Tyre Recycling Association to examine incident statistics and review existing guidance.  We will also work with site operators to improve safety and lobby the government for decisive action, including legislative change where necessary.

Roy Wilsher, Operations Director for CFOA said “the recent fires in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester serve as a stark reminder to us all of the fire risk associated with waste and recycling sites. In 2012 there were over 300 fires at such sites, many of which required a huge effort from the local Fire and Rescue Service to contain the fire, which can burn for days or even weeks”