17 January 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Wood restrictions hit Manchester HWRCs recycling rate

The Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority has blamed a low recycling rate at its recycling centres in 2015/16 on restrictions on wood waste.

Figures published at the end of December by the authority in its annual report show that Manchester’s HWRCs recycled or composted just 31.21% in 2015/16, compared to almost 50% in 2009/10.

GMWDA’s Longley Lane recycling centre

However, authority minutes show the figure has improved to 39.4% in 2016/17.


In explanation of the low 2015/16 rate GMWDA said the figures were affected by the “significant” reduction of wood recycling, due to the restrictions placed on treatment of secondary wood.

Hadfield Wood Recyclers, based in Manchester, holds the contract to treat waste wood from the authority’s 20 HWRCs and has held the contract since 2004.

When contacted by letsrecycle.com, Hadfield explained that in 2015, the company had to shut its gates temporarily to some wood waste, due to guidance published by the Environment Agency.


Vicki Hughes, group business development director at Hadfield, said: “The figures for 2015/16 relate to the period in which we were forced to shut our gates to incoming waste wood due to restrictions placed on us by the EA’s new fire prevention plan (FPP) guidance, a situation which was totally out of our control.

“Between July and September 2015 we had to stop all grade B and C waste wood coming onto our sites at Manchester and Middlesbrough. Other wood recyclers also had to do the same and this had an impact on several contracts at the time, including other smaller local authorities.” (see letsrecycle.com story)

Mrs Hughes said aside from 2015/16, it has increased tonnages being recycled for GMWDA year on year.

“This situation shows the impact FPP could have on recycled tonnages of waste wood if we don’t manage to get guidance that works for everyone.”

Vicki Hughes

She continued: “This situation shows the impact FPP could have on recycled tonnages of waste wood if we don’t manage to get guidance that works for everyone. We, along with the Wood Recyclers’ Association and many other operators are still working with the EA to find a solution that will allow us to work at the level required to maintain recycling rates, whilst satisfying the EA that our sites are safe.”


A spokesperson for GMWDA said that any wood not recycled would have been sent to energy from waste.

The authority’s HWRCs are currently managed by Viridor, who contract the wood recycling to Hadfield. The PFI contract with Viridor has been terminated but the company operates the sites as part of a “run off” contract. Reprocurement of the new contract will take at least 12-18 months, GMWDA said.


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