Opinion: Leadership needed in dispute over waste-tire safety proposals
ERJ staff report (PR)
London - The sight of flames and black smoke billowing out from waste-tire sites - and the threat to human safety and the environment created by these sporadic incidents - is something everyone would like to consign to the past. Few groups, if any, want to achieve this goal more that the waste tire industry itself.
Surprising, so, that the Tyre Recovery Association, whose members manage over 75 percent of UK waste-tire arisings, reports that was it not asked to participate in a major consultation process to develop new fire-safety standards at waste-management sites in the UK.
The consultation is being led by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) forum, which includes representatives from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and Environment Agency (EA), as well as certain recycling organisations and trade associations involved in waste management and recycling.
Not on the WISH membership list is the TRA, and it has been angered by guidance recently issued by the forum (see report): arguing that the proposals were “counter-intuitive and arrogant” and would put many of its member companies out of business for little if any improvement in safety.
This is not a lone viewpoint: the Wood Recycling Association has joined the TRA in rubbishing the WISH proposals. Its leadership is also puzzled as to why the wood recycling sector was not brought into the WISH consultation from the outset.
As WRA Peter Butt explained to ERJ: “The first I knew of this document was at a CFOA [Chief Fire Officers Association] meeting on 30 April. I immediately made arrangements to meet with the author and the WISH chairman. But by then the document had already been completed. I can only guess what their motives were for not involving industry.”
These complaints are firmly disputed by groups within WISH, which insist that both the TRA and WRA were involved in the consultation and consulted about the proposals at various stages.
Putting such arguments aside, the acrimony created by the lack of input from key waste-stream industry sectors – for whatever reason – is a set-back for all concerned. The vital cause of fire safety requires that all stakeholders work in harmony rather than be at loggerheads as they are now.
Leadership from one of the main stakeholders - UK regulatory enforcement bodies the HSE and/or EA seem best placed - is now required to sort out this extremely unhelpful dispute.
ERJ always welcomes your opinions.
If you have any comments on this topic please email Patrick Raleigh, editor.
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