Plans have been approved to address “offensive odours” coming from a recycling facility in St Helens following hundreds of complaints .
Residents have flooded the Environment Agency with complaints throughout 2018 regarding Veolia’s £10 million glass recycling facility, based at Knauf’s Insulation’s site in Stafford Road.
The primary source of the odours relates to a drying operation of the waste glass received at the site, which has been operational since November 2017.
A planning application was submitted to the council by Knauf Insulation in August outlining proposals to mitigate the odours.
“In conjunction with liaising with the Environment Agency, Veolia has commissioned an independent assessment to determine the source of the odour and assess the magnitude of odour impacts on the surrounding environment,” a supporting statement said.
“Based on the independent assessment and advice given by Odournet, Veolia has been able to assess and determine the most appropriate and practical odour mitigation measures.”
The proposals are to introduce a wet scrubber, which will be connected to the dryer to reduce the amount of odorous material venting through the stack.
The extension of the current dryerstack from 13 to 30 metres to improve dispersion and subsequent dilution of odorous emissions reaching ground level is also proposed.
In its supporting statement, Veolia said it is keen to progress with resolving the odour complaints raised by residents “at the earliest opportunity”.
Veolia argued that the proposals seeks to “ensure the continued operation” of the glass processing facility, which would benefit the sustainable management of waste and the circular economy.
Planning officer John Waddelow agreed, writing in his report that the proposal would result in an “improved standard of amenity for local residents”.
Tony Smith, the council’s service manager for regulatory services, updated the environment, regeneration, housing, culture and leisure overview and scrutiny panel on the situation last month.
He said complaints had grown steadily throughout out the year, with 278 recorded to date.
One letter written on behalf of the residents of Factory Row described the odours as a combination of rotting food material and strong chemicals that made people “physically sick”.
Mr Smith said the wet scrubber had the potential to reduce the odour by seven times and added that there would be potential for further improvements if necessary.
A decision notice was issued by a planning officer last week granting planning permission, subject to numerous conditions.