CONCERNS are growing about a proposed waste incinerator energy plant for Portland which campaigners claim isn't needed or wanted.

It comes as a petition against the scheme, launched in early December, has attracted more than 1,800 signatures.

But the firm behind the proposals, Powerfuel, says it will help solve the issue of Dorset exporting its waste out of the county to be treated or sent to landfill.

The plant would be sited at Portland Port – the location earmarked for a controversial palm oil waste plant around a decade ago.

Those plans ultimately fell through.

But Powerfuel says its technology is cleaner, greener and will generate energy for around 30,000 homes per year.

The company also says that Portland's current grid supply is struggling to keep up with demand, and that this is a barrier to business growth.

A newly-established group, Stop Portland Waste Incinerator campaign, is holding an information evening for the community, including a Q&A, next week.

The group says it will focus will be on various aspects of the plan, which may not have been fully covered by the public engagement material provided by Powerfuel.

The firm held its own event in December, where there were mixed reactions from attendees.

At the event was MP for South Dorset Richard Drax, who said: “I’m instinctively nervous about things like this. I have two main concerns - emissions and the huge number of lorries coming on and off the island.

“We live in a stunning part of the world, I’m slightly baffled why we should put it here.”

Portland resident Ian Dyke said: “On the face of it it looks quite nice but people need to see beyond the facade. It’s all contradictory, everything about the need for more power is based on a hypothetical scenario. They will need to bring in huge amounts of waste to fuel it.”

Weymouth councillor Graham Lambert said: “I think they’re making a good effort to explain what’s going on. Undoubtedly we have a problem in this country with waste but I’m yet to be convinced this is the best way to deal with it and I’m yet to be convinced this site is the best place.

“I’m open minded but have a lot of questions still to be answered.

“The disadvantage to the people of Weymouth is being on the receiving end of all these additional lorries. I’m not giving it my blessing at this stage as I’ve got too many concerns that need addressing.”

Portland resident Jennifer Meadows said: “I feel very unhappy because we live so close to it - our house would be level with the chimney outlet.

“They say the emissions will be within EU directive but who’s going to be monitoring it?

"If it has to be built it should be somewhere industrial or agricultural away from villages and towns.”

Members of Stop Portland Waste Incinerator were leafleting outside the event and have set up a petition. It is addressed to people with the relevant senior roles at Dorset Waste Partnership, Dorset Council planning and Portland Port asking them to stop the proposed scheme.

The group’s founder - former councillor Lucy Grieve - said there already too many waste incinerators in the UK, leading to a call by MPs to block new plants being built.

She said: “A new waste incineration plant isn’t needed - and it certainly isn’t wanted.

“Some residents are already saying ‘when should I put my house on the market - will I even be able to sell it?’ Nobody’s going to want to live next to anything like that."

She added: “Their business model is to sell electric back to the National Grid, and to do that they will need a constant supply of non-recyclable waste to feed it. It is a business model that relies on more waste being produced, instead of encouraging people to recycle.

“Their claim about the need for more power on the island is based on the hypothetical scenario of masses of heavy industry coming to the area. In fact, Osprey Quay is already thriving - it is a small area with light industry.”

Stop Portland Waste Incinerator is giving a public presentation on Thursday, January 9 from 7pm to 8.15pm at Portland Community Venue, Three Yards Close.

Giles Frampton, director of Powerfuel, said: "We appreciate that 20 MPs called for a moratorium on new waste facilities, but the reality is that out of 650 MPs that equates to about 3 per cent - so 97 per cent of MPs did not. There is not over-capacity in the waste industry, which is why we continue to export a proportion of our waste abroad to be managed.

"In term of lorry movements, we are estimating, in a worst case scenario, there will be 40 deliveries a day.

"We are great supporters of recycling and do not see how our facility will discourage the high recycling rates Dorset enjoys. As a society we keep increasing the amount of waste we generate.

“With 1.6 million tonnes of waste being produced in Dorset every year and rising, there is enough waste locally to provide the fuel for our facility that has a capacity of 180,000 tonnes a year.

“If industry requires more power, or we electrify transport and remove gas heating in exchange for electric heating (per the demands of a Climate Emergency) much more power will be required.”

For more information about the proposals visit