Soil clean-up plant clears licensing, planning hurdles

Attempts to commercialise a novel process to turn contaminated soil into glass have moved a stage forward following a planning decision by Kent County Council. Its ruling was that the operation will not need a waste disposal licence if polluted soil is blended off-site and delivered in sealed containers, when it will be treated as a glass-making material.

The dispute centred on the definition of the primary use of the site. The company involved, VERT Ltd, first proposed to convert the former United Glass works at Queenborough, Kent, into a vitrification plant in 1990. The process, originally developed by Dunston Ceramics, offers a more secure disposal route for contaminated soil than the widespread practice of landfilling.

VERT insisted that neither planning permission nor an environmental

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