Composting facility at source of 'years' of odour complaints could have amount of waste increased

A consultation has opened on an application to increase waste permitted for processing at a Willerby composting facility which a councillor claimed was the source of “years” of odour complaints.

The Environment Agency’s consultation on Biowise Limited’s application for the site, in Albion Lane, Willerby, launched on Thursday, June 3

The Environment Agency’s consultation on Biowise Limited’s application for the site, in Albion Lane, Willerby, launched on Thursday, June 3 and is set to run until Thursday, July 1.

Biowise Operations and Development Director Bob Wilkes said the application to increase its yearly permitted waste intake from 75,000 to 90,000 tonnes aimed to make use of spare winter capacity.

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But Willerby and Kirk Ella ward councillors Ben Weeks, Gary McMaster and Shaun Horton have urged locals to submit comments as one said the site had prompted several odour complaints.

Coun Horton said: ““In the past six or seven years the number of complaints regarding odour control appear to be rising which is disappointing considering the investment in the in-house composting vessel.”

Coun Weeks said he had written to East Riding Council officials to see if the extra waste would be sourced locally or be brought in from further afield. The ward member added he was also seeking further clarity on whether the application was a result of recent house building in the area.

Coun McMaster said the Environment Agency’s permit for the site must remain “fit for purpose” as standards change and technology improves.

The councillor said: “The Environment Agency has a legal obligation to consider the application and to invite public participation in the consultation. In addition to the assessment process for this variation application, the environmental permit held by Biowise will also be reviewed by the Environment Agency’s technical specialists within the National Permitting Service.”

Mr Wilkes said the company had been “consistently” found to not be the source of bad smells which he instead claimed came from manure spreading on nearby fields and sewage.

He added a “huge amount” of money and time had been spent on monitoring odours coming from the site.

The director said: “Odour complaints, accusing Biowise of creating a problem, always increase during the field spreading season, without fail.

“So far in 2021 we have not received a single substantiated odour complaint and despite carrying out their own odour monitoring, the Environment Agency has also failed to find any off-site odour associated with our permitted activity.

“We are very compliant with our local authority and Environment Agency obligations and are an open and approachable company who are happy to engage.

“We provide an environmentally friendly solution to a local waste source, and create a high quality peat-free compost available to local markets whilst at the same time providing secure, permanent, well paid, local jobs within the local community we serve.

“We are not proposing to bring anything other than additional standard brown bin waste, nothing toxic and nothing contaminated and we are a categorised as a low risk activity.”

Kathryn Richardson, area manager at the Environment Agency, said they company’s proposals would be assessed to ensure they would not harm locals’ or environmental health.

The manager said: “Our regulatory controls for the waste industry are in place to protect people and the environment.

“We may refuse an application for an environmental permit variation if it does not meet one or more of the legal requirements under environmental legislation, including if it will have an unacceptable impact on the environment or harm human health.

“If all the requirements are met, we are legally obliged to issue a permit. We welcome comments from the public and interested groups on local environmental factors that people feel are important.”

Documents relating to the application are available to view online here.Consultation comments can be submitted here, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 03708 506 506.