CONCERNS were raised about proposals for a Portland waste incinerator during a well-attended community meeting.

The event, organised by Stop Portland Waste Incinerator (SPWI) campaign group, continued until late into the night as residents, councillors and community representatives put their questions to a panel.

Presentations by the group aimed to 'debunk some of the perceived myths' surrounding the plant - including that it would provide free electricity.

Some were surprised to learn the plant, proposed to be built within Portland Port, wouldn't necessarily be dealing with Dorset's waste. 

Contracts for the work would need to be agreed with both Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

Lucy Grieve, a spokesman for the campaign, said: "It is concerning that some residents believe the proposed incinerator would automatically be dealing with Dorset’s waste.

Due to timescales, the proposed incinerator is unlikely to be able to deal with Dorset’s waste until at least 2027.

"If not Dorset, where will the waste be coming from?"

SPWI also raised concerns that emissions from the plant's 50-metre high chimney would contain 'ultra-fine particles' that could reach a 10km radius, and have been linked to health risks.

The group referred to a 2019 study into incinerators which states that more research is warranted in order to rule out potential health risks to unborn babies.

"Most of this research is very recent and clearly there is an urgent need for wider studies," Lucy Grieve added.

"Meanwhile, residents should not have to be guinea-pigs."

Also of concern was increased traffic. Powerfuel has previously said that while there is no restriction on how many lorries are permitted per day, a 'worst-case scenario' would see 40 vehicles travelling to and from the plant during working hours.

The group claims this would mean one lorry every six minutes crossing the causeway from Weymouth during normal delivery hours.

In response to concerns raised, Giles Frampton, director of Powerfuel, said: "Our proposed facility will be one of the smaller plants in the UK and has been scaled to manage a proportion of local waste. The Port location will give resilience in terms of securing delivery by ship if local waste is unavailable for some period.

"There is potential that some waste could be imported from outside Dorset but it is commercially most sensible for us to utilise locally-arising waste.

"Powerfuel Portland will employ state-of-the-art emissions control technology to keep within limits set by the Environment Agency.

"Emissions controls are based upon Air Quality Standards set by the European Union and UK Government and other bodies, including Public Health England.

"A large proportion of the plant is dedicated to capturing air emissions in the exhaust. A key element of the design ensures that no dioxins are created, leading to a net reduction in dioxins. However, no emissions control system can be completely effective and trace amounts of some substances remain in the flue gases that are emitted to air. The stack is designed to ensure the impacts of these emissions are not significant."