The long-awaited guidance for operators working within the waste wood industry on how to handle and process all items of wood is planned for release by the end of the month.
Unfortunately delays in waiting for clarification on whether all four of the UK’s regulators will work to the same guidance meant we were unable to launch the guidance at our summer meeting earlier this month as originally planned. However, we are working hard to get the guidance ready for publication before the two new RPSs come into effect on August 1st.
Julia Turner, Executive Director of the WRA, said: “This project has been a huge undertaking for our sector and has involved many organisations pulling together to ensure that we used scientifically-based evidence to get to an outcome.
“Having come this far it is important that we get the final stage absolutely right so we decided to hold off publishing the guidance while we wait for complete clarification from all the regulators.”
The WRA and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) have been working together on the Waste Wood Classification (WWC) project for almost four years. The aim of the project is to ensure that waste wood in the UK is properly classified at its origin and is processed into appropriate end markets. It has also identified which waste wood items are hazardous and to what extent these are still in circulation.
Work has included detailed sampling and testing plans as well as large-scale laboratory testing of the materials of concern, which took place throughout 2019 and 2020. The materials involved were:
- Fence posts and decking from household sources
- Structural timbers, tiling battens and external joinery from pre-2007 buildings from demolition sources
The laboratory testing of the wood showed that there were insignificant amounts of hazardous content in fence posts and decking from the household stream (0.06%) and that this is diminishing and is not likely to exist at all from 2023. The testing also proved that all construction and the majority of demolition waste wood was non-hazardous.
However, there is not yet enough evidence on the hazardous content of structural timbers, external joinery and tiling battens from the demolition of pre-2007 buildings, therefore these will continue to be tested on a project-by-project basis.
Howard Button, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, said: “We’re pleased that only these few items remain in question. There is no evidence either way as to whether they are hazardous or not, so we need to continue with our sampling of these materials until we get a definitive answer.”
The waste wood industry has been operating under an Environment Agency (EA) Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) to allow mixed waste wood to continue to be used for panel board manufacture and IED Chapter IV compliant biomass.
That RPS is due to finish on 31st July and the WRA understands that will be replaced by two new EA Regulatory Position Statements for the respective sectors. They will come into force on August 1st, with the same intent as the original RPS, allowing mixed waste wood to continue to be used for panel board manufacture and IED Chapter IV compliant biomass.