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London Solid Waste Transfer Station Activation

July 7

  • Fire Rescue Service; London Fire Brigade (LFB)
  • Incident; Recycling Plant Fire
  • Date of Incident; 7 July 2023
  • Time of call; 15:31
  • Where, London, Hillingdon
  • Use of premises; Solid Waste Transfer Station
  • Automatic Fire Suppression System (AFSS) Sprinklers

LFB have reported the following incident.

 The premises

  • Solid waste transfer station
  • Ground plus 2, 1 below ground
  • The quantity of waste the site can receive:-
  • 208,000 tonnes of solid waste and up to 40,000 tonnes of civic amenity waste per annum

The Incident

  • The fire involved a refuse store which caught light.
  • Activating 2 sprinkler heads which contained, controlled the fire to the room of origin, prior to the arrival of LFB.
  • Firefighting action, hose reel high pressure jet (Augmented supply)
  • The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

 The ¹ National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) have reported that UK Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) attend around 300 significant fires in waste sites each year which are often difficult to extinguish requiring multiple FRS resources for significant periods of time which can have a serious impact on the local community in the short or long term, including:

  1. The Environmental Impact
  2. Public health impacts on responders and communities
  3. Large scale financial loses and disruption.
  4. Road closures
  5. High demand on FRS and other agency resources

FRS are fully aware of the environmental impacts of fire publishing sustainability, environmental reports with further guidance published by the government on environmental protection, providing further guidance for FRS on preventing and dealing with incidents with the potential to pollute.

Active fire protection systems, specifically Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS) should be seen as part of a holistic approach minimising fire damage as part of a greener approach from the fire sector, which is currently overlooked.

However, the above-mentioned incident identifies that AFSS do have a positive outcome for fires involving waste sites.


¹ NFCC. National Operational Guidance, Fires in waste sites


July 7