THE operators of the Allington incinerator near Maidstone could have to apply for fresh planning permission, opposition county councillors have claimed. Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Trudy Dean raised the possibility during a hearing into county council plans to allow a further 150,000 tonnes of household rubbish a year from three other parts of the county to be processed at the plant.
She said that industry observers had indicated to her that the technology likely to be used at Allington would not work.
As a result, she suggested a fresh planning application could be needed if the operators wanted to adopt different methods of getting rid of rubbish.
"A view has been expressed that the technology at Allington will not work; that the technology will have to be changed and a new planning application will have to be submitted," said Cllr Dean.
If that situation arose, there would be a question mark over KCC's decision to allow the plant to deal with rubbish from seven districts instead of the four originally anticipated, she added.
KCC's strategic planning director Peter Raine, dismissed the claim. He said it was "very unlikely" a new application would be needed even if Kent Enviropower did opt to use different technology. However, he conceded in response to other questions there was a measure of risk attached to the plans.
"If the plant did not work, we would not pay them the money...the rubbish would go to landfill," he said.
Mr Raine also denied that bringing in rubbish to Allington from a further three authorities in the county conflicted with KCC's objective of limiting journeys by road.
"Both Allington and Shelford [near Canterbury] are strategically placed to serve west and east Kent. On the basis of the contract, there would be 81 daily deliveries...that is substantially lower than some of the numbers in the past," he said.
KCC's cabinet has decided that in addition to handling household rubbish from Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge, Allington will be contracted to deal with rubbish from Dartford, Gravesend and Swale over 25 years.