Blackpits Compost Shovel Day - posted 16 March 2018
I’m pleased to confirm that we will be hosting a compost give-away day at Helmdon on Saturday 31 March 2018. The compost will be available to collect between the hours of 08:00 – 12:00 only. Residents will be restricted to 5 bags/buckets each. No trailers will be allowed. Residents should bring their own bags/buckets and shovels for loading. Compost will be stockpiled on the compost pad adjacent to the weighbridge. Residents are asked to pull their cars onto the pad and off the access road so as not to block the weighbridge as the site will be operational at the time.
Residents should not turn up days either side of the Saturday please as these will be normal working days and we will not be able to accommodate members of the public for health and safety reasons.
Quality & Compliance
Blackpits Compost Shovel Day - posted 10 April 2017
I’m pleased to confirm that we
will be hosting a compost give-away day at Helmdon on Saturday
15th April. The compost will be available to collect
between the hours of 08:00 – 12:00 only. Residents will be
restricted to 5 bags/buckets each. No trailers will be allowed. Residents
should bring their own bags/buckets and shovels for loading. Compost will be
stockpiled on the compost pad adjacent to the weighbridge. Residents are asked
to pull their cars onto the pad and off the access road so as not to block the
weighbridge as the site will be operational at the time.
Residents should not turn up days
either side of the Saturday please as these will be normal working days and we
will not be able to accommodate members of the public for health and safety
Quality & Compliance
Blackpits Update March 2017 - posted 13 March 2017
Last year the Parish Council and the Blackpits Monitoring Group started a new online system for quickly and easily reporting any problems with smells from the Blackpits composting site. www.helmdon.com/report
Many of you made use of the system, which allowed the Monitoring Group to discuss improvements with Material Change Ltd who manage the composting site. As a result Material Change have:
- added another experienced composter to the site’s staff and made changes to the site’s operations to improve the process and ensure compliance with the Odour Management Plan.
- spent £70,000 improving the drainage on the site so that the compost is not kept so wet – which can lead to odour problems
- increased the amount of woody material added to the compost process, which makes the composting process work better; and arranged for access to additional supplies of wood if needed
- stopped accepting some flour/grain material for composting because it had been identified as a possible source of odours
- started offering advice to local farmers taking compost off the site about how to store the compost before use to reduce the risk of those stockpiles creating smells
- given instructions to contractors bringing material on site to avoid coming through the village wherever possible and when they do have to come through the village to stick to speed limits and avoid key times, especially school drop off and pick up times.
Material Change have also told us that the site was inspected by the Environment Agency in February and that they are happy with the way it is being run.
This is all positive news and we hope that it will make a difference to the odour problems we had at times last year. This progress was very much helped by the information you provided using the new complaints system. Please continue to report any problems. Hopefully you will need it less but, if there are problems, the information from this system is invaluable.
Blackpits Odour Update - posted 16 September 2016
There have now been more than 100 reports this year, from all parts of Helmdon and Falcutt, of odours thought to originate from the Blackpits composting site.
The Monitoring Group has met to review the complaints and will be seeking a meeting with the site operators to discuss the causes of the problem and changes to operating practices.
After a quiet start to the year, problems started to appear in June and have persisted throughout the summer. One theory is that the problem started when, after the very wet period in May/June, large amounts of wet grass clippings were delivered for processing from the green bin collections. This unbalanced the composting process leading to a “bad batch” which then took time to work through the site. Other explanations are possible however, and the Monitoring Group will want to discuss all the evidence from the reported incidents and try to link them with activity on the site.
While the Blackpits operators, Material Change Ltd, have responded quickly to complaints by, for example, suspending operations when problems are reported, the Monitoring Group is concerned that this is only a stopgap and may make matters worse in the long run. We are looking for changes that stop the problems arising or at least limit them to infrequent “accidents”.
The information that is available since the new reporting system was introduced in the spring has been invaluable in identifying the scale and spread of the problem. The recent distribution of leaflets giving details of how to report problems has helped more villagers to join in. We would encourage everyone to report their experiences. The weight of evidence will improve our understanding of the problem and strengthen our hand in discussions with the operators.
If you have any thoughts on any of this please contact me at
Blackpits Update - posted 14 July 2016
The Monitoring Committee met this week to review recent experiences. We have had a spate of complaints over the last month. While we are not entirely sure why there has suddenly been a problem, the most likely explanation is a glut of wet grass clippings in our green bins as lawns have been flourishing in our English summer!
Material Change, who manage the site, recognise the problem and have started buying in woody material to add to the compost to balance it and reduce the risk of smells. This is welcome but, because it takes several weeks for the compost to be processed, it may be some time before we know whether this has dealt with the problem. In the meantime, as a temporary measure, the heaps of compost – called windrows- are being covered with finished compost to see if that can suppress the odours. The monitoring group has asked whether the wet grass problem could have been anticipated and whether in future the mix of materials could be monitored and adjusted routinely to avoid future problems from this source.
While it is not good that we have a problem, it is good that because of our reporting system we can quickly identify problems and link them to activity on site. Material Change have acknowledged that it needs to respond when this happens. So thank you to all those that have used www.helmdon.com/report . Please keep on doing so when you notice an odour and encourage others to do so too.
Did You Notice Odours From Blackpits Composting Today? - posted 29 June 2016
Did you notice odours from Blackpits composting today? I have had reports that there was a strong smell in the village today but I wasn't there and can't report it. But getting these incidents reported is important so that we can try to identify when the smells arise and hopefully what we can do about them. Please don't just grumble make a report, even if the smell "isn't too bad" - we need to get as much information as possible so that we can work with the site operators to try to fix it. Reporting is easy- just go to www.helmdon.com/report
Blackpits Compost Give-Away - posted 22 April 2016
I have arranged for some of our 10mm compost to be brought in to Helmdon next week ready for a give-away day on Saturday 7th May between the hours of 08:00 – 12:00. Compost will be stockpiled on the storage pad to the left of the weighbridge. We will also make some of our digestate available to residents which is the material produced from the anaerobic digestion process on site. This is a nutrient rich product as well, high in nitrogen and very good for gardens.
The site will be operational and vehicles will be coming into site to make deliveries - Residents will need to pull their vehicles clear off the road and onto the pad and not block the access to the weighbridge please. Please could they bring their own spades and bags/buckets to fill. Quantities will be limited to 5 bags/buckets per household and loading of trailers is not permitted.
Please ask residents to be vigilant about lorries entering the site (albeit not into the area where they will be filling their bags/buckets) as they will be responsible for their own health and safety whilst on site. We will keep loading machinery away from them at all times.
Quality & Compliance Manager
Direct Dial: 01327 706231
Monitors Needed - posted 28 March 2016
The Blackpits Monitoring Committee would like to recruit some volunteer monitors from across Helmdon to help improve the reporting of smells and other problems which might arise from the activities at Blackpits. The hope is that better reporting will help to identify where the smells actually come from and what activities give rise to them so that we can work with the operators to reduce or eliminate the problem. We want a network of monitors who will commit to reporting smells when they encounter them and be ready to make reports on behalf of others who may not feel comfortable completing the new online forms. We need them to be spread around the village because the incidence and impact of smells does seem to vary quite a bit.
If you would like to help - and hopefully there will not be many incidences to report please contact Phillip Ward e-mail.
Blackpits Compost Collection Open Morning - posted 15 October 2015
The compost give away will take place at Helmdon on Saturday 24 October between the hours of 08:00 – 12:00.
The compost will be located at the entrance to the site on the right hand side of the driveway.
Residents will need to pull their vehicles clear off the road and not block the main access road into site. Please could they bring their own spades and bags/buckets to fill. As the compost will be contained in the bin, we will not be able to load trailers and quantities will be limited to 5 bags/buckets per household.