They follow a three-year research project carried out by Cranfield University into the problems that can be caused by the sites.

The research, funded by the Environment Agency, looked at issues experienced by many waste processing operations such as smells and bio-aerosols, and the impact they can have on local residents and their quality of life.

The new guidelines, which are now being drafted, will affect the way waste operators carry out risk assessments.

“While existing sites are unlikely to see changes, new sites, or operators who are changing operations should see a change in the risk assessment procedures they are required to undertake,” said Dr Kerry Walsh of the Environment Agency.

Dr Gill Drew, from Cranfield University, said: “The research undertaken over the last three years has considered a number of factors that could potentially have an environmental impact.

“The training provided to Environment Agency staff through this research will result in a more consistent approach to assessing these impacts at waste sites, which will benefit operators in the long term through time efficiencies.”

Unpleasant odours are a frequent source of complaints from the public about waste management sites.

In September, a composting site in Bedfordshire was fined £8,000 plus costs after the Environment Agency investigated complaints from local residents about smells, and found that the company was breaching regulations requiring it to monitor odours see related story).

Kate Martin

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