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Environment Agency Plans will decimate tyre recycling business

Plans by the Environment Agency (EA) to introduce new norms for the storage and processing of end of life tyres will force many operators out of business by the end of this year.

While much of this new guidance is acceptable best practice, new requirements for maximum stack heights and stack separation distances are unworkable and if implemented will force businesses to close. Not only will this mean a significant loss of jobs but tyre recycling will be driven further to the margins where rogue operators and others are already a significant factor.

TRA members operate from permitted sites and are routinely audited under the UK’s industry’s Responsible Recycler Scheme. Those operating from exempt and illegal sites suffer no such inconvenience and are rarely subject to enforcement by the EA.

The TRA has been in dialogue with the Agency over its proposals for more than three years but it appears to have taken no heed at all of the realities of our situation. Moreover, stack heights and separation distances proposed for tyres are inexplicably much lower than for other more easily combustible wastes such as plastics, wood, textiles and paper.

TRA Secretary General, Peter Taylor OBE, commented: “We have always worked closely with the EA and believe in the ‘partnership’ approach but the current situation is hugely disappointing and suggests we have simply been engaged in a dialogue of the deaf. If applied, these proposals will reduce site capabilities by up to 50%. Instead of working with us to preserve what is best in the business of tyre recycling these EA proposals will give a huge boost to illegal activity, no doubt increasing the very risks they seek to contain.”

Over the coming days the TRA and its members will be explaining the consequences of these EA proposals to members of parliament in its own members’ constituencies as well as engaging with Defra and its new Secretary of State in a last ditch attempt to bring about a rethink.

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