THE Waddingtons plant on the edge of Bradford city centre is one of the oldest businesses in Bradford – having operated in the city in one form or another since 1882.

But despite this, many in the city are unaware of what happens in the factory.

At a meeting on Wednesday to discuss concerns about odours from the plant, committee members were given more details about the operation of the business.

The company is one of just eight animal byproduct rendering facilities in the UK – another being Omega Proteins outside of Thornton.

The processes carried out on the site dispose of dead animals, or animal parts such as bone, offal and hooves, to create biofuel and energy.

The company was taken over by JG Pears in 2020.

A report to members of the Scrutiny Committee said the eight sites in the UK were vital for “controlling the risk of diseases passing from animals through to the general population.”

It added: “The rendering industry operates to ensure that diseased and unfit foods are prevented from entering our food chain.”

As well as accepting unused parts from the meat industry, the Bradford site also has a permit to accept dead animals in the form of roadkill and dead zoo animals.

During the meeting, company bosses told members that sites such as theirs are even used to dispose of the bodies of whales that wash onto UK shores.

The Committees also heard that the Government can commission sites like Waddingtons to dispose of animals during outbreaks of disease, such as avian influenza or swine flu.

Explaining how the site operates, the report says: “There are several stages in the ABP rendering treatment, including receipt of the material, crushing, cooking at high temperature and subsequent meal/tallow separation and storage.

“The process building and ABP processing areas are maintained under negative pressure to stop the escape of odours to the outside, even when doors are opened.

“Air is extracted from all processing areas and treated in either a thermal oxidiser or through two externally located hypochlorite-based scrubbers. The most odorous air is treated by high temperature incineration in the combustion chamber of the thermal oxidiser, however not all the air in the processing plant can be processed in the thermal oxidiser because of the large volumes of air in question. The remainder is processed by the two hypochlorite scrubbers.”

Steam produced by the process is then emitted via the plant’s large chimney.

At the meeting Environmental Health Manage for the Council Jeff Lawrence acknowledged: “The process for rendering, it is fair to say, is an odorous business.”