The politician leading the controversial proposed closures of household tips across the county has resigned.
Cllr Susan Carey stepped down as Kent County Council's cabinet member for environment last night - sparking speculation there will be another reshuffle of the authority's top table.
The cash-saving proposals to axe four of six tips facing the chop has caused a huge public and political backlash.
A consultation period into shutting the waste recycling centres was put on hold in the summer.
Officials claimed they needed more time to feed “wider information” into documents.
A statement issued by KCC monitoring officer Ben Watts to members last night said that “Ms Susan Carey has requested to stand down from the cabinet”.
Mr Watts said KCC leader Cllr Roger Gough would assume responsibility for Cllr Carey’s duties for the environment portfolio, supported by the deputy cabinet member Tony Hills.
The statement added: “When the leader makes further changes to portfolios in due course I will advise accordingly.”
Cllr Carey, who represents Elham Valley, has been approached for a comment.
Labour member for Thanet Cllr Barry Lewis said the resignation shows the “ridiculous” tip closure plans are now in “doubt".
He added: “It puts into doubt whether these controversial plans to close household tips will go ahead as there has been a major revolt by Conservative backbenchers and opposition members against these ridiculous proposals.”
Cllr Carey became the public face of the proposed closures, which would create more than £1 million in savings for cash-strapped KCC as it looks to find tens of millions of pounds in efficiencies in the coming years to balance its books.
Cllr Gough recently carried out a mini reshuffle of his cabinet and successfully faced down a leadership challenge in early October.
Tory backbenchers are worried about how KCC finances, possible tip closures and potholed roads will play with the electorate when KCC next goes to the polls in 2025.