RESIDENTS are stepping up their campaign against plans for a waste incinerator on Portland.

Stop Portland Waste Incinerator (SPWI) aims to raise £8,000 to pay for professional support in order to fight a planning application for the proposed Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) plant, which, if approved, would be built at Portland Port and would burn household waste to generate electricity.

Energy company Powerfuel unveiled the plans in November 2019, and residents have raised concerns about emissions, increased traffic and the impact on wildlife and tourism, as well as concerns it could undermine recycling efforts.

A petition by SPWI has now reached 4,000 signatures.

Lucy Grieve, spokesperson for the campaign, said: "This is not just an issue for Portland – it affects residents in Wyke, Weymouth and Preston too, especially those living within the ten kilometre radius of the incinerator chimney stack who would bear the brunt of emissions - and those living along the route the waste lorries would take."

The group is now calling for more volunteers to help with leafleting.

"We are also looking for people with a range of skills: from organising events to designing leaflets; from creating a website or writing press releases to researching planning policies," Lucy Grieve added.

The group also met South Dorset MP Richard Drax to discuss the concerns.

Mr Drax said Lucy Grieve gave an informative presentation and expressed her "severe doubts about the proposed plant on a number of grounds, not least health".

Mr Drax said: "I, too, share these reservations and am also concerned about the increased traffic through Wyke Regis.

"Having met with Powerfuel recently, I requested that they hold a public meeting at a point in the future to enable residents to further question the company on its plans.

"Ms Grieve asked that she, too, be given a platform at this public meeting.

"I was not able to guarantee that, as it will depend on Powerfuel to a large extent, but agreed I would ask.

"I am very keen for the public to read about this plant, which they will be able to do when the plans are submitted, we think in March.

"There will be a consultation phase, where it is important that all those who either support, or object, to the plant submit their own individual points."

Mr Drax said he had discussed the issue with ministers, local politicians, residents, the port and Powerfuel.

"Both sides have asked me to become their cheerleader, but I feel this is inappropriate," he said.

Mr Drax said it would be for Dorset Council to decide the application, and it must go through he legal process.

"What I and all other residents must do is examine the proposal carefully and then state our case when all the facts are known,” the MP added.

Powerfuel director Giles Frampton has previously spoken out to reassure the public:

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

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