WRA to work with EA on defining hazardous wood

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

The Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) has revealed it is working with the Environment Agency (EA) to look at the classification of hazardous waste wood in the UK.

According to the WRA, the EA approached it following concerns that lower grade waste wood was being used as a fuel in some non-WID compliant biomass boilers, instead of grade A wood, an issue the WRA said it has itself been highlighting to its members.

In addition new EU guidance is reportedly coming into force within the next 12 months which will require mixed waste wood streams to be fully assessed at the “front end”, i.e. before they have been processed into a product.

The WRA said it has now formed a group of industry representatives to work alongside EA officers with the aim of:

  • Better defining what hazardous waste wood is
  • Identifying best practice for front-end assessment by wood recyclers and reprocessors
  • Developing a code of practice for the sector.

Andy Hill, chair of the WRA, said: “It is positive that, following our work with the EA on the issue of fire prevention plans (FPP), they have come to us to proactively discuss this issue and seek advice and opinions from the wood recyclers. No one should be under any illusion of the potentially significant adverse impact if we don’t collectively find a workable solution to this.

“We are in the very early stages of this project, but we are hopeful that we will be able to find an outcome that will satisfy both the EA and the industry as a whole. Most treatments used on wood today will not be hazardous, while others will only be hazardous at certain concentrations, so we feel confident we will be able to ensure the WRA leads the way with a set of appropriate standards for defining hazardous wood.”

The WRA reported that in the UK over 77% of processed waste wood goes into the two main end uses: energy recovery and panel board. This is said to amount to 3.8 million tonnes, with an additional 1.6 million tonnes of capacity at new waste wood power plants expected to come on stream this year. These facilities are reported to be WID compliant and burn the waste wood as a fuel to produce power and/or combined heat & power.

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