Last reviewed 16 December 2020

The Wood Recyclers’ Association is planning to challenge hazardous waste regulations which it fears will damage the waste wood supply chain.

According to the WRA, the Environment Agency plans to extend the current Regulatory Position Statement (RPS 207) (which permits mixed waste wood to continue to be used for panel board manufacture and Chapter IV compliant biomass) until the end of July next year. After that, the items highlighted as potentially hazardous would have to be identified, separated and consigned. This would mean that fence posts and decking would have to be segregated and classified as hazardous.

The regulators have also said that this potentially hazardous material can only go for Chapter IV compliant biomass from August onwards.

Commenting, a spokesperson for the WRA said: “The amount of hazardous waste wood in this stream is extremely small and is diminishing. From previous discussions we have had with the regulators we anticipated they would continue to allow us to move household waste wood as non-hazardous for the relatively short period of time we would need to demonstrate that the items with potentially hazardous content are no longer in the household waste wood chain.

“Unfortunately the current regulations do not allow them to do this at present. We understand that and we plan to challenge the specific issues with Defra, but in the meantime we are asking for an 18 month extension to the RPS to allow us to continue with our sampling and testing work, and to give us time to challenge the regulation without having a major impact on the panel board industry’s supply chain.”

The WRA is also concerned that asking the general public to segregate their wood when they arrive at recycling centres will deter people from taking the wood there and instead they will either fly-tip it or burn it illegally causing greater environmental risk and harm.