The chair of WISH wants to see ‘scientific’ approach to waste fires

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The WISH forum said it agreed with 90% of the EA’s FPP guidance

Mr Chris Jones, the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum chair, says that he agrees with 90% of the Environment Agency’s (EA) Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) guidance.

At the Fire Prevention and Control conference, which took place in London this week, Mr Jones also said that the EA had yet to gather together guidance with the most recent combustion of waste findings.

Wish chair wants 'scientific' approach to waste fires

Fire crew tackling bale fire on Wigsley airfield © Copyright Richard Croft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

During the conference’s second session, Mr Jones gave an update to the delegates on fire tests carried out recently by the WISH forum and was joined by the fire safety engineer manager from the International Fire Consultants and the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, Mr Angus Sangster, who’ve been working with WISH on the experiments.

Tests were carried out involving the burning of various waste materials to pin down their combustible properties and will be part of WISH’s second fire guidance version, set to be published in March next year.

When WISH published their first draft guidance in 2014, Mr Jones said that they “naively” assumed how a waste fire would act once it had been lit.

However, recent test show how waste is “much more resistant to ignition than anyone thought”, concluding that bales of waste don’t burn in the same way as piles do.

According to Mr Jones, fires that grow in waste “from the inside out” may burn at temperatures as high as 1,200 degrees Celsius, making them a lot more problematic than those burning on the surface of a pile of waste.

Mr Jones said that WISH did agree with around 90 per cent of the EA’s measures, but stated that their plan would focus on extinguishing fires “as fast as is practicable” without “turning waste operatives into firefighters”.

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