The Environment Agency (EA) will extend an interim measure to allow wood recyclers to continue using current methods for handling wood including potentially hazardous material.

This latest EA focus on wood waste dates back to March 2017 when the EA issued updated guidance to their officers to look at wood that may have been treated or coated with hazardous preservatives to ensure this waste does not end up posing a risk to human health through use as compost, animal bedding or fuel.

The EA issued a regulatory position statement (RPS) in November 2017 which said that current practices can continue for 12 months while an investigation takes place, looking into the classification and treatment of wood waste with the condition that the material must be destined for Industrial Emissions Direct (IED) Chapter IV compliant permitted incinerator or the manufacture of board.

The RPS was due to be withdrawn on the 1st November 2018, however it has now been extended until September 2019.

A waste wood working group has been set up by the EA to look at waste wood classification, which is being chaired by Julia Turner, Executive Director of the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) and include members from the wood, construction and demolition and waste management industries.

Commenting on the extension, Julia Turner, executive director of the WRA said: “The WRA has been leading this project at the request of the EA and has been working with a number of colleagues from other trade bodies to gain a better understanding of the issues”

 “The EA has congratulated us on the work so far and has told us they are happy to extend the RPS which will mean low grade waste wood can continue to be sent to panel board and Chapter IV biomass boilers whilst we complete the project”.

A change to current methods of classification could mean that construction and demolition companies will need to change the way in which they deal with their wood waste and could also impose significant additional cost on the industry.

We will keep you posted on progress with the investigation through our website and news bulletins.

In the meantime, here is a summary of the key points:

  • In March 2017 The UK’s Environment Agency (EA) began working with the wood recycling industry to reassess the classification of hazardous waste wood in the UK following reports that some operators are using low-grade material as biomass fuel.
  • The EA issued a Regulatory Position Statement in November 2017 which allowed treated or mixed waste wood (including chipped waste wood and wood fines), which could be classified as hazardous or non-hazardous and has not been assessed and classified in line with the hazardous waste technical guidance, to continue to be classified as non-hazardous, providing a number of conditions were met.
  • The RPS was due to expire on the 1st November 2018 but has now been extended until September 2019, whilst an investigation into the assessment of hazardous wood waste, headed up by the WRA, continues.

Please see use link below for further information and guidance on the RPS and the classification of wood waste

Classifying waste wood from mixed waste sources

The Windsor Integrated Services Group of companies Windsor Waste Management logo Zest Recycle logo Hazibag logo ARI logo