Knowaste resubmits nappy plant plans

Hygiene waste company, Knowaste, has resubmitted plans to build a nappy recycling facility in Hayes, west London.

Inside Knowaste's original West Bromwich plant, which closed in 2013

The planning application claims the £15m facility will process at least 36,000 tonnes per year of absorbent hygiene products (AHPs). Plastic from the products will be recycled for items such as roof tiles and fibres reclaimed for making pet litter.


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 story).  The original facility in West Bromwich was closed suddenly in May 2013 (see story).

Inside the original West Bromwich plant
Inside the original West Bromwich plant

According to Paul Richardson, UK business development director at Knowaste, the facility, in the London borough of Hillingdon, will be capable of recovering 97% of material from incontinence products – mainly nappies.

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

Mr Richardson told “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 attended 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.

According to the assessment, 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 would be just 40m from the Blair Peach Primary School and Nursery.

While the plant has been designed to minimise the release of odours, according to the assessment, it comments on whether the facility has the potential 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 recycling facility
The proposed west London recycling facility

The report concludes that the impact for the majority of the surroundings would be 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 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 14 July, and we are working hard towards making sure that happens.”

The plant has all its investors in place and Knowaste aims to have it in operation 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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