Documents in relation to this application can be found via the following link –
Matthew Williams (Senior Planner) presented the report on the IVC (in-vessel compost) facility and provided an overview of the application including its location and nearest residents.
· The pad was part of the second stage of IVC
· The site had been operating for 10 years and had an additional pad implemented in 2013
· The application proposed that the layout of the composting pad be amended to increase the area to 4275 square metres, and include the addition of concrete retaining walls on the site 3.5 metres high
· Some weldmesh fencing boundaries of the pad and the relocated welfare facilities, would need some lights to be replaced to cover the 10 eight-metre-high lighting columns
· The site size would increase but the waste, commuting vehicles and operating levels will not
· Their soil was initially used as soil conditioner to help with site restoration but as the site had been fully restored, they wanted to be able to sell compost offsite
· Objections to this application had been received from Ufton Parish Council due to the existing smell and odour. The EA recently visited the site and did not substantiate the complaints. Operational measures on site to try to resolve odour and flies included a bio filter (a big expanse of chipped wood to reduce emissions) and a system of nozzles neutralising the site
· The changes would make the facility Pas100 (publicly available specification) industry standard
In response to Councillor Kettle, Matthew Williams stated that the site was sprayed regularly to reduce the fly issue. The lights needed to be expanded to follow the site expansion.
In response to Councillor Matecki, Matthew Williams stated that the application was to improve efficiency and the quality of the compost.
Jackie Chapman (Clerk for Ufton Parish Council) spoke against the application and stated that ‘there had been a long history of smells from the site, in 2015 there were 41 complaints against it. The EA were meant to visit the site in 2020, but this was delayed because of Covid-19. Smell complaints had risen over the years and the smell came in wafts and in one evening she swatted 132 flies.’ She continued that they did not have a regular spray and there should be more. Jackie Chapman asked for the committee to support regulation for smell and fly issues.
Mike Harty (BIFFA Development & Planning Manager) noted that ‘there were no objections from officers from the relevant fields and the only objection received was from Ufton Parish Council. When the EA visited in July 2021, they said that the fly increase was not because of their work, and they found no breaches. Increasing the site would make composting piles smaller which should reduce the smell and make pest control management easier.’
In response to Councillor Chris Mills, Mike Harty stated that they sprayed the site twice a week. Jackie Chapman added that the smell had existed since the site was set up; she reported the smell to Stratford District Council (SDC) who told them to contact the EA who told them to contact SDC.
In response to Councillor Dahmash, Mike Harty stated that they were frequently monitored by the EA, and they would say if they breached their permit.
In response to Councillor Kettle, Mike Harty stated that the in-vessel process should reduce the odour issue with its bio-filter.
In response to Councillor Matecki, Jackie Chapman stated that the Parish Council would like the appropriate conditions in place to manage the odour and smell if the applicant does not manage it.
Councillor Matecki stated that refusing the application would not reduce the fly and odour issues.
In response to Councillor Kettle, Matthew Williams stated that the EA would have to request more frequent fly extermination sprays as Warwickshire County Council does not have this authority. It was clarified that the council could ask the EA to investigate the issue further.
The Chair proposed authorising the application but adding that the council will ask the EA to investigate the issue.
The committee unanimously voted for this.
That the Regulatory Committee authorises the grant of planning permission for the amendment to the existing site layout to increase the size of the compost maturation pad and associated works, subject to the conditions and for the reasons contained within Appendix B of the report of the Strategic Director for Communities.
Warwickshire County Council planning officers will ask the Environment Agency to investigate the issue of flies from the site further.