Limited testing on timber components from buildings constructed in the 1950’s

Dear NFDC Member

You may be aware that the Environment Agency in England currently has a focus on wood waste that may be incorrectly being consigned as non-hazardous waste. The EA have issued updated guidance to their officers on this subject, as they are concerned that some of this wood waste will end up in non-WID compliant incineration plant and animal bedding, which poses a risk to human health.

The NFDC has been working with the Wood Recyclers Association (WRA), the Wood Protection Association (WPA) and the CIWM C&D Waste Group to identify timber components that are likely to have been preservative treated with hazardous substances in concentrations that would render the wood waste as hazardous waste, and when these may have been incorporated into buildings. The key components identified include structural timbers, tiling battens and external joinery installed in buildings prior to 2007.

To confirm whether these components still contain sufficient concentrations of hazardous substances to render the wood waste as hazardous, the NFDC has volunteered to carry out some limited testing on timber components from buildings constructed in the 1950’s. We are therefore asking if you are currently carrying out, or will be starting, demolition on any non-industrial buildings constructed in the 1950’s (e.g. schools, hospitals, offices, residential properties, etc.) that contain the original timber components in the following list:

  • Structural Timbers (including sole plates, timber frame components, ground and upper floor joists, roof timbers)
  • Tiling Battens
  • External Joinery (including windows, doors, and soffit, fascia and barge boards)

If you do have these components on your project please let us know as soon as possible, as we will be looking for you to send us some small samples. Once the sample plan has been agreed, we will send you details of the size of sample we need and how to send it to us. We will also require a few details such as the date the building was constructed, the type of building and the address (which will remain confidential) along with some photographs of the location the timber was taken from.

We thank you in advance for your assistance in this project, which will clarify our obligations with regard to wood waste.”

Feel free to give me a call on this if you need to discuss further.

All the best


Howard Button