smethwickThe Chief Fire Officers Association are to work with the Environment Agency and the Wood & Tyre Recycling Association to review existing guidance on waste recycling fires after recent incidents at Stockport and Smethwick.

Last month’s fire in Smethwick (pictured) 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”.

Another serious fire at a UK waste recycling site, this time in Stockport Greater Manchester, was further evidence of the impact of fires which have the potential to burn for several days.

Stark reminder of waste fire risks
CFOA Operations Director Roy Wilsher 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."

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.

CFOA has also pledged to work with site operators to improve safety and lobby the government for decisive action, including legislative change where necessary.