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New bid to expand East Kent Recycling site at Oare Creek

East Kent Recycling has submitted a fresh application to expand its waste management site near Oare.

A previous proposal, which would have seen an extra 480 lorries passing through narrow streets in Faversham, Ospringe and surrounding villages each week on their way to and from the industrial site, has been withdrawn.

More than 150 objections had been lodged against the plans by residents who say the roads leading up to the plant, opposite Oare Creek, are already congested and that increased lorry traffic will worsen already intolerable levels of noise and air pollution.

Road leading up to the East Kent Recycling plant at Oare Creek
Road leading up to the East Kent Recycling plant at Oare Creek

Ospringe Street and sections of London Road, a main approach to the site, is already a designated air quality management (AQMA) area owing to high levels of nitrogen oxide, a toxic gas which is linked to lung problems.

Swale Borough Council figures show that of the area's 10 N02 monitoring points, not one has recorded a monthly average in 2018 below government limits of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

The new application states that "the applicant’s new proposals seek to take account of the representations that were made in respect of the current planning application and other information it has received."

Under the new proposals, vehicle movements would remain at the current limit of 80 per day.

Lorries would be allowed to arrive at and leave the site between 5-7am and 6-8pm from Monday to Friday, and from 5-7am and 1-6pm on Saturdays.

Entrance to the East Kent Recycling plant at Oare Creek
Entrance to the East Kent Recycling plant at Oare Creek

However, residents fear the limit will be difficult to enforce.

Linda Morrison, chair of the campaign group Uproare, said: "I do feel that there's a reason why this has been withdrawn. It's got to be a reflection of all those people that objected, and the work of our two lawyers.

"We have won a battle, by stopping [East Kent Recycling] from doing their full intention. On the other hand, I'm fearful that Kent County Council are going to pass this now.

"Having got this far - after so many objections from so many people, and having gone to so many meetings, and trying to rally people by saying this affects everybody in Ospringe and Faversham - having done that, we now have to start all over again."

Faversham councillor Antony Hook (Lib Dem) branded the new plans as a "re-packaging" of the previous application.

"I am delighted that we have defeated the planning application, which would have worsened noise, congestion and air pollution in our area," he said.

"We are studying the new application carefully and it appears to still envisage a substantial increase in lorry movements. This is completely unacceptable and we will continue to oppose it.

"Air quality through Ospringe is already far in breach of legal limits and must not be made worse by extra lorries.

"I will be continuing my fight against this planning application."

A Kent County Council spokesman said officers are in the process of alerting residents to the new application.

Watermans, who have requested planning permission on behalf of East Kent Recycling, did not respond to a request for comment.

To read and comment on the new application, go to www.kent.gov.uk/viewapplications and search for KCC/SW/0090/2018.

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