Stack of wooden logs with grey sky
Thursday 18th of June 2020 | Posted In: Renewable energy, Biofuels, Use and Manage

Waste Wood Acceptance: The P’s and Q’s

If you burn, or plan to burn, waste wood you need to make sure your site has a procedure in place to check the type and quality of the fuel being delivered. With national shortages of Virgin and Grade A waste wood becoming more frequent across suppliers, it is more important than ever to make sure you are getting what you paid for.

When receiving waste wood onto the site, you should always check your P’s and Q’s:

  1. Permit: Waste wood falls into four distinct categories and you need to make sure you are only accepting wood that you are permitted to take. Your environmental permit will specify this, but ultimately it is your responsibility to manage it. With all new waste wood permits, the Environment Agency are increasing their requests for Waste Acceptance Procedures to be in place prior to site operations commencing. This is especially true for large capacity sites with over 3 tonnes per hour boiler feed rates.
  2. Paperwork: No deliveries should be unloaded on site until all paperwork has been inspected to ensure that the correct waste codes/grades and source descriptions are present, as per the permit requirements.
  3. Quality: The load should also be inspected for consistency (e.g. Grade A and B should not have plywood/chipboard etc, and should be uniform in colour), contaminants (e.g. plastics/foam), temperature and humidity (using a probe) to ensure your delivery is of acceptable quality and to ensure it has not started to decay and could risk self-ignition! You can ask your supplier to systematically provide their probe results for all loads being prepared for delivery to your site if you are unable to do this yourself.
  4. Quantity: Sites with large fuel stores, wood should not be stored on-site for more than 3 days and used on a ‘first in-first out’ policy. Therefore, it is essential for deliveries to be tracked from arrival onto site and movement around site up until use, where possible.

Why you should care…

For those who think any extra paperwork is not worth the time and effort, the Environment Agency, your Local Authority, or even an OFGEM consultant can audit your site at any time. If there are not sufficient records in place to evidence that the correct fuels and quantities have been combusted onsite, there could be heavy fines and temporary suspension to your operation.

Please also bear in mind that most sites will have a maximum storage allowance of 125 tonnes at any one time unless your permit states otherwise. If during an audit you are found to be in excess of this allowance, they have the right to issue additional fines and order excess chips to be removed from the site.

For more information regarding how to check the types of wood you should be combusting, please see our article: The Right Wood?

If you need assistance with a Waste Acceptance Procedure and/or ongoing permit compliance for your site, please call the NFU Energy team on 024 7669 8899.