View from the bridge

17th March 2017 Posted by

Andy Hill, Chairman of the Wood Recyclers’ Association, takes a look at recent WRA work, highlighting crucial success on the approach to FPP applications.

I’m very pleased to be able to report that the constant focus of your Board and Executive Director lobbying the Environment Agency (EA) on the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) guidance has finally paid dividends, with the EA agreeing that we will move forward by working with them to produce a bespoke waste wood template for FPP permit applications. This will recognise the distinct characteristics of waste wood and how our sector operates.

This development is a major break-through and vindicates the effort we have put into this extremely important topic, which has a major impact on us all. Your association has worked tirelessly to achieve this and is now seen as one of the leading lights on this topic, having garnered and led the wider industry in proactively engaging with the EA on FPP. We now find ourselves being invited to quite a few events and conferences to share our experience and opinions, which is testimony to how hard we have worked to raise our profile over the past 18 month. In other areas of our work, as part of our continued development and linking with key stakeholders we have formed a strategic, reciprocal alliance with BAV, the German equivalent of the WRA. We will be sharing technical and operational information with BAV, as the German wood recycling sector is facing many of the same challenges we are. This is good news and we will look to find other European organisations with which to develop close ties – together we are stronger!

Since the beginning of this year our Executive Director has been carrying out a three year strategic review of our Business Plan. This will be shared in more detail at the next members’ meeting. What is clear from this review is that we have built a great platform but now need to utilise this to build more and deeper relationships with key stakeholders.

Support of our members is key to enable us to achieve this. Trade associations such as ours are there to represent their members’ interests. This can only be truly done if the association is representative of the sector within which it operates.

We have had some well attended meetings recently with some excellent external high level speakers from organisations such as the EA and CIWM, but we need to do more. I’d therefore ask that for those members who do not regularly attend meetings, please see if you can make some time in your hectic schedules to come to at least one a year if not more, both to get updates on latest industry issues and news and, to show external stakeholders just how strong the WRA is. This point also extends to sharing of industry data which is critical to reinforce our credibility as representing the industry. So if we ask you for information please respond and be rest assured that the information you provide will remain absolutely confidential.

Finally, I’d like to say a personal thank you to the Board for their commitment and for re-electing me as Chairman for a further 4 years. This will give us consistency in executing our strategic plan and existing stakeholder relationships.

I’m proud to be leading the WRA and very much look forward to the coming four years leading the association through the next evolution and key challenges, including development of our very own Code of Practice.

I wish you all a successful few months and look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in June.

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