London nappy plant in ‘adverse’ odour warning

Hygiene waste company, Knowaste, has resubmitted plans to build a nappy recycling facility in Hayes, west London, following concerns by Hillingdon council over the proposed odour management system for the plant.

The latest submission warns that the plant, which is on the Southall/Hayes border, could have a “slight adverse” impact on nearby schools and housing in terms of odour.

Inside the original West Bromwich plant

Inside the original West Bromwich plant

According to the planning application, concerns were raised by the London Borough of Ealing “with respect to transient receptors such as users of the canal towpath to the east of the site and the allotments to the northeast.” The facility’s boundary is also located just 40m from the Blair Peach Primary School and Nursery and near to residential housing.


Knowaste, which was behind the UK’s first ever nappy recycling facility, built in West Bromwich, originally submitted the Hayes application in September last year (see our sister website The original facility in West Bromwich was forced to close suddenly in May 2013 (see story).

The planning application for the Hayes plant claims the £15m facility will process at least 36,000 tonnes per year of absorbent hygiene products (AHPs), recycling plastics and fibres into products such as roof tiles and pet litter.

Knowaste withdrew its first planning application in March 2016, shortly before it was due to go before Hillingdon council’s planning committee, as the authority requested more details regarding the odour management system (see story).

Paul Richardson, UK business development director at Knowaste, told AirQualityNews: “We were a little bit disappointed by having to do that, of course. We’ve now submitted a really detailed planning permission including an Odour Management System and some odour modelling, which was requested by the council.”

“We’re confident that we’ve tended to all the issues, but if [the council] do come with any further questions we’re again confident that we will be able to answer those as well.”


Changes in the application, which was resubmitted with an Odour Impact Assessment (OIA) on May 12, include a revised odour management system and a full odour modelling study, which analyses a worse-case scenario for any residual odour emitted from the plant. The report was authored by Entran Limited, an environmental and transportation consultancy firm.

While the plant has been designed to minimise the release of odours, the OIA comments on the possibility for the facility to give rise to odours. Air from within the building will be treated before it is vented to atmosphere, but there is a possibility that “there will be residual odours from the odour control system,” according to the report.

The proposed West London recycling facility

The proposed west London nappy recycling facility

The OIA concludes that the impact for the majority of the surroundings would be described as negligible. But two receptors, namely the Blair Peach schools and Cherry Avenue, a residential street, are described as possibly having a ‘slight adverse’ impact.

The report reads: “Based on the low predicted concentrations, even assuming as a worst-case that emissions from the odour control system are at the maximum, it is concluded that the impact of the facility would be ‘not significant’.”

Mr Richardson said: “It’s all at worst case scenario. The odour modelling has been done by a reputable company working to all the required guidelines. We don’t envisage any issues at all.

“But if there were to be any adverse effects, for example a breakdown, there is a policy in place to close the plant immediately. We’ve got plans in place together with the Environment Agency.”


Knowaste said it expects to receive a decision by mid-July from Hillingdon Council, which will determine the outcome of the application at a Major Applications Committee.

Mr Richardson said: “The council planners indicated to us that the target date for the committee is the 14th of July, and we are working hard towards making sure that happens.”

The plant has all its investors in place and hopes to be operational by the mid to third quarter of 2017, said Mr Richardson: “If we get through with the planning permission in July then we’re confident of an August start.”


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