Recycling fires and waste management

Waste Management and Recycling Fires

In November 2013 stakeholders from the waste management and insurance sectors alongside strategic leaders from Fire & Rescue, Central and Local Government Departments gathered for a Fire Futures Forum on Waste Management organised by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).

Their aim was to achieve consensus on key issues, gain clarity on each other’s perspectives, and identify potential solutions that would reduce the number and severity of fires at waste management and recycling centres, or where they did occur, would mitigate their impacts.

CFOA and partner organisations recognised the need to work collaboratively to effect positive change, through the production of appropriate, manageable solutions that are proportionate to the risk, cost effective and achievable for the industry and enforcing authorities.


WISH Guidance: Reducing Fire Risk at Waste Management Sites

New guidance for Waste and Recycling Sites was issued on 20th October 2014 by the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum, to provide site operators with the information and standards they need to reduce fire risk.

The guidance aims to provide advice and standards for the waste and recycling sector on good and acceptable practice, enabling them to reduce the risk of fire on their sites. Organisations across the waste industry and beyond have participated in consultation on drafts of the guidance.

The guidance has been written by WISH with input from the ESA (Environmental Services Association), Environment Agency (EA), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL), the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and other bodies. It is supported by the EA, SEPA, NRW, HSE, CFOA, ESA and WISH.

The guidance was revised in April 2017 and can be downloaded from the WISH website here.

Fire Futures Forum: Presentations

M Andrews - FRS Presentation (Wed, 04 Jun 2014)

Latest Statistics on Waste Fires

The latest statistics, from the Environment Agency, show the incidence of Waste Fires from 2001 to 2013.

Year Regulated1 Sites  Unregulated2 Sites  Total fires 
 2001  154 92  246 
 2002  203 140  343 
 2003  288  110 398 
 2004  254 83  337 
 2005  239  107 346 
 2006 284   95 379
 2007  236 54  290 
 2008  227 48  275 
 2009  282 55  337 
 2010  286 59  345 
 2011  348 77  425
 2012 247  55  302
 2013 248  50  298 

Data is for all categories of incident recorded.

  1. Regulated – where a permitting regime specific to the source has been identified, eg  waste operations and waste installations.
  2. Unregulated – where no permitting regime specific to the source had been identified.