New guidance on waste fires


WISH (Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum) has released its newly revised waste fires guidance.

The revised guidance will be formally launched at a waste fires seminar hosted by CFOA’s (Chief Fire Officers Association) National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) at the National Fire College at Moreton-in-Marsh on 23 June 2017, but is available in advance on the WISH web site at 


The revised guidance was produced by the WISH waste fires working group, with the involvement of other interested parties. It is supported by bodies such as the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW). 

Chair of the WISH waste fires working group Geoff Smallwood said: “When we released our first waste guidance back in 2014 we acknowledged it would need revising as understanding and knowledge about waste fires developed. Key in this development of understanding has been the waste burn tests conducted through 2015 and 2016. To our knowledge these are the most extensive series of waste burn tests ever conducted. The results have led to many of the revisions in our new guidance. Our thanks go to those who took part in the tests, and to NFCC, the WRA (Wood Recyclers Association) and those ESA (Environmental Services Association) members who contributed to funding the tests, which to date have cost more than £170,000.” 

A non-technical summary of the results of the waste burn tests is also available on the WISH web site as a support document to the revised guidance. Both documents are free to download by all waste operators and others who may be interested. 

Geoff continued: “The aim of the original WISH waste fires guidance was to provide waste operators with the information and guidance they need to reduce the risk of fires on their sites, and where fires do occur to reduce their impacts. This has not changed. What has changed is that the revised WISH guidance is now based on the latest information available. Our industry is still recording too many fires each year. This has to change, and we believe the new, revised WISH fires guidance is a key step to reducing fire risk at waste management sites.”