Nappy recycling plans rejected over emissions concerns

Plans to build a £15 million nappy recycling plant in Hayes, west London have been thrown out by Hillingdon council following a damning assessment of the proposals to tackle odour at the site.

Planning officers cited the proposed plant’s proximity to a school, and ruled that the company behind the plant — Knowaste — had ‘significantly’ underestimated the potential for noxious odour emissions from the site.

Inside the original West Bromwich plant

Inside a former site run by Knowaste in West Bromwich. The company was planning to use a similar system at the proposed site in Hayes.

The application was turned down at a committee hearing last week (14 July).

The recycling business has said it will now appeal to the Planning Inspector in an attempt to overturn the local authority’s decision. And, Knowaste has also said it might now try to build its first plant in east London instead.

Knowaste had resubmitted a planning application to build the facility in Hayes, capable of processing at least 36,000 tonnes of absorbent hygiene products per year.

The company withdrew its application to build the plant in March, shortly before it was due to go before the London borough of Hillingdon’s planning committee, after the authority requested more details regarding the odour management system.

The application was resubmitted with an Odour Impact Assessment in May, which included an odour modelling study authored by environmental consultancy firm Entran Limited.

But in spite of the steps taken by the company the council has still decided to refuse the application, following a request for additional information from the senior planning officer over odour emissions.


The plant, which would be located to the south of Uxbridge Road within the Springfield Road Industrial and Business Area, would be close to residential properties, Hayes Football Club, a Sikh academy and a primary school as well as a supermarket.

Hillingdon council argues that while the principle of the site as one for waste management uses is acceptable, concerns remain over the odour impact that a nappy plant could cause.

The planning officers’ report concludes: “Whilst the further and more detailed information provided by the applicant is welcomed as part of the application, there remain reservations with the assumptions and conclusions of the assessments and modelling.

“The council consider that the results significantly underestimate the risk of odour exposure and as a result, there would be notable changes in the odour composition and these would be noxious given the nature of the proposal, and residential nature of the area, within the prevailing wind direction.”


Knowaste has criticised the council and alleged ‘inconsistent and intermittent communication’ over the proposals, adding it has been left with no choice but to appeal.

Paul Richardson, UK dusiness development director at Knowaste, said: “The impact of this decision on our timetable is disappointing as we had already identified a site for plant number two in East London which will proceed as planned, although it may become plant number one if the appeal process takes too long.”


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