A MISFIRING waste facility in Basildon could take up to 30,000 tonnes of garden waste a year in order to reach full capacity.

Essex County Council wants the Tovi-Park Mechanical Biological Treatment facility (MBT) to be able to take green garden waste from Essex Household Waste Recycling Centres – rather than just mixed waste.

The facility has been accepting waste since November 2014, but is still in a “testing phase”.

Since September, waste from household waste recycling centres is no longer delivered to the facility and a larger proportion of the household kerbside waste is delivered direct to the facility instead.

James Abbott, Green Party member, said: “It’s not the right facility to take green waste – that is dealt with under a completely different process via a composting facility to turn to soil improver. Sticking it through an MBT means it will come out the back end mixed up with everything else.

“It raises a whole load of questions – where is the green waste going now, why have they decided to change it – is it anything to do with the capacity shortfall? If they are putting it through the MBT how is that impacting the recycling figures and is that the most sustainable way of doing it?”

The application comes amidst a legal dispute between Essex County Council and Urbaser Balfour Beatty. The council has claimed in court it should be allowed to end its 28-year £800m contract with UBB.

UBB claims the council is already sending “the wrong type of waste” to the plant.

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “The council believes the treatment of green waste is already permitted by the planning permission, and is simply seeking confirmation of this.

“We do not currently anticipate making any changes to the way in which green waste from recycling centres for household waste is treated.

“We are merely seeking the Waste Planning Authority’s confirmation that the facility could treat this waste, should this be required. There will be no change to the way in which waste is currently collected in Essex.”