AfOR / EA leaf litter trials still open for applications from LAs
As  a result of trials carried out last Autumn by the EA in Wales with leaf litter from street cleansings with four local authorities, concerns were raised in relation to the high levels of nickel, copper, chromium, molybdenum, zinc and hydrocarbons found in this material.
The outcomes from this trial has signalled the need for the EA to take a precautionary approach to composting of this material. In order to assist in gaining further evidence, AfOR is co-ordinating trials with compost operators and local authorities to provide evidence which will assist the EA in deciding on the most appropriate treatment for this material.
10 district councils have already applied to participate in the trials. AfOR is expecting further applications over the next weeks.
Before starting the trial you must have:


  • Filled in AfOR leaf litter trials T&Cs form and sent it to me
  • Filled in the attached ‘Appendix 2 in the attached leaf litter trial outline v10 Final Â– form’ and sent it to me.
  • Applied for a Scheme derogation, according to clause 4.3.5 of AfOR Compost Certification Scheme Rules Issue 1 Revision 6, by filling and sending to me the derogation application form. This only applies if you (or your contracted composting operator) intends to carry out the trial within your ‘PAS 100 & Compost Quality Protocol (CQP) composting process, and
  • Obtained by AfOR the derogation’s approval (only if the trial is carried out as a part of a PAS 100 CQP composting process).

When you have completed the above, please read carefully the instructions below and the attached trial methodology issued by the Environment Agency, entitled ‘EA leaf litter trial outline V10 FINAL’.


Record templates

Please ensure you use the following records for the trial:

  • Leaf litter collection round record sheet (or an equivalent record/system of records including the same information) – this record should be used by the company that is responsible for the collection of the leaf sweepings.
  • Input materials delivery and inspection record sheet (or an equivalent record/system of records including the same information) – this record should be used by the composting operator when leaf sweepings and other biodegradable input materials are delivered to the site. Please note that each load of leaf sweepings should be visually assessed and the outcome of this assessment should be recorded in this record.
  • Batch formation, monitoring & appraisal record sheet – this record should be used to record batch formation dates, the proportions of leaf sweepings in each batch, the monitoring results and the outcome of the batch evaluation against the CLs.

In addition, please continue to use any other record that you normally use for the PAS 100 & CQP batches.


Sampling methodology

When sampling untreated leaf litter, untreated garden waste (or garden / food wastes) and compost, please follow the attached AfOR Sampling guidelines. Given the importance of these trials you should reiterate the importance of mixing subsamples thoroughly. Please ensure you always archive a sample in case the laboratory needs to carry out further checks/tests on the samples.


When you post each sample to NRM, please ensure you fill in and send to the lab copy of the attached ‘Leaf litter trial sample analysis request’ including NRM’s test suite quote Q20752/13.


Please make sure that the bag containing the sample is properly labelled (e.g. sampling date and sample code, which is the same code specified in the sample analysis request).   

Laboratory you need to send the samples to
Please note that all samples should be sent to NRM (Natural Resource Management Limited, Coopers Bridge, Braziers Lane, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG42 6NS), accompanied by the completed sample analysis request.
Prior to sampling, please contact Jenni King at NRM Limited:

Tel: 01344 886338
Direct: 01344 899034
Fax: 01344 890972

In the event you are not already NRM’s client, NRM will allocate a client code. Please request Jenny to send you the sample bags and the specific sampling kit required for testing TPH and PAH (a 30 ml amber jar).

The cost of testing each sample will be £225 plus VAT. Please note that AfOR have worked hard with the EA and the lab to minimise this cost of this trial.


Quantities required for each sample

·         2.5 litres in a plastic bag (provided by NRM); and

·         the amber jar (30 ml) provided by NRM completely filled up.


Sampling frequency

Each batch including leaf litter should be sampled. For each batch you are going to sample, you should take:

·         One sample representative of the untreated leaf litter that will be added to the batch;

·         One sample representative of any other biodegradable wastes that will be added to the batch; and

·         One sample representative of the resulting compost, within a week from the completion of the 8 weeks composting process.

Test results evaluation
Where possible, it is recommended that you wait until you have received the test results for the untreated leaf litter before you mix it with any other biodegradable wastes. This is because if the leaf litter test results shows high levels of contaminants, this waste may be unsuitable for the trial.  In addition, the Agency may not allow the resulting compost to be applied to land, this will have implications on the quantity of material that you need to subsequently dispose of and the associated costs for this disposal.

Trial batch size

Please note that one of the Agency’s objectives for this trial is to understand whether collecting leaf litter from particular areas or minimising the contaminants collected with the leaves in the collection rounds would result in the production of a quality compost that can be safety spread to land. 
It is important that every batch of leaf sweepings or combined leav sweepings/other biodegradable watses is matched with specific collection rounds.

The larger the batch you form, the more likely is that data obtained from the trial will be less meaningful, as it will be difficult to match the material in the batch to a particular collection route or combination of collection routes. Thus, the batch formed with the leaf litter should be as small as is practically possible.  In addition, you must consider the potential financial implications of forming a large batch should the trial prove to be unsuccessful.


Should you need any clarification of any aspects of this trial, please contact Kiara (07717294793,


In Kiara's absence, if it is urgent please contact Jeremy (, 01933 446445) or Justyna (, 01933 446441).  

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