WRA launch toolkit ahead of RPS 250 withdrawal

The Wood Recyclers' Association (WRA) has launched a comprehensive toolkit to help wood recyclers prepare for the withdrawal of Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 250 in September. 

RPS 250 WRA ToolkitIntroduced in July 2021, RPS 250 currently allows potentially hazardous 'amber' waste wood items from the construction and demolition waste stream to be moved and processed as non-hazardous.

As of 1 September 1 2023, this provision - which allows specific types of potentially hazardous waste wood from pre-2007 buildings to be recycled or recovered - will be rescinded. This means that wood recycling sites will no longer accept such materials unless they have undergone testing to confirm their non-hazardous nature.

The announcement follows five years of concerted efforts by the WRA through its Waste Wood Classification Project. During this time, the WRA has managed to significantly reduce the number of items subject to this change from hundreds, along with their associated costs, down to merely ten, all originating from pre-2007 buildings.

The ten potentially hazardous items from pre-2007 buildings are now: Barge boards; external fascia; soffit boards; external joinery; external doors; roof timber; tiling cladding; tiling battens; timber frames and timber joists.

The New WRA Toolkit

The WRA’s new toolkit designed to ensure compliance and minimize disruption for wood recyclers. It comprises several resources to ensure seamless compliance and continuity of operations, including:

  • A detailed checklist for wood recyclers, providing a step-by-step guide through the transition.
  • A printable poster/visual guide to assist in identifying materials that require testing.
  • A sample acceptable materials guide, enabling recyclers to update their acceptance criteria effectively.
  • An updated WRA wood grading system to pinpoint potentially hazardous materials.
  • An upcoming training video to explain the changes and required steps for wood recycling businesses.

Vicki Hughes, technical lead on the WRA Board, said: “We are delighted to be launching this toolkit to help our members prepare for the withdrawal of RPS 250 in September.

“The Environment Agency has said it will be checking the protocols of sites accepting waste wood, so it is important that operators understand what changes they need to make.

“There are only three months to go so we urge wood recyclers and their suppliers to start looking at what they need to do now.”

Navigating withdrawal of RPS 250

The WRA recommends wood recyclers to communicate the forthcoming changes to customers and stakeholders; to train staff to identify and manage hazardous materials appropriately; to make sure quarantine processes for hazardous material are up to date and to ensure that none is accepted onto their sites.

The WRA also urges all parties dealing with demolition waste wood to conduct as many tests as feasible on the remaining items before the September deadline to further shrink this list.

Vicki Hughes clarifies: “The role of testing is paramount in our aim to eliminate more of these items from the list and maximize the amount of material that is recycled or recovered. However, those submitting samples for testing must adhere closely to WRA guidance and provide consent, while maintaining anonymity, for us to access and examine the results.”

She goes on: “RPS 250 is applicable only in England, but the environmental regulators in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have similar regulations in place. SEPA in Scotland has confirmed that their guidelines will also adjust to align with the same principles. While NRW in Wales and NIEA in Northern Ireland have not yet specified what changes will occur there, wood processors will need to abide by the same guidelines across the UK due to the cross-border movement of waste wood. As a result, acceptance criteria will need to be revised on a UK-wide scale.”

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