THE firm behind Portland's proposed waste incinerator has spoken out in a bid to allay residents' fears about traffic.

Powerfuel unveiled plans for an Energy Recovery Facility at Portland Port during a public event last December - met by mixed reaction.

The company has since taken on board those concerns, many of which relate to increased traffic, and has published Government data about traffic flow to put residents at ease.

Giles Frampton, director of Powerfuel Portland, said: “The feedback from the public exhibition was extremely useful.

"The site at Portland Port has a great advantage in that Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) can be delivered by both road and sea.

"The most up-to-date data from the Department for Transport shows that Portland Beach Road has a daily two-way traffic flow of 17,500 vehicles.

"At most the Energy Recovery Facility is expected to generate an additional upper estimate of 80 vehicle movements per day which therefore forms only 0.4 per cent of daily traffic flow.

"This is a worst-case scenario, and likely to be smaller.

"In addition, we will be submitting a travel plan to agree set routes and timings to further reduce the impact, especially during peak hours."

There is no guarantee that the plant would secure waste contracts for Dorset - but Mr Frampton is optimistic it could be a solution for the county.

He added: "The RDF is already being moved by road, usually much further afield, so the number of overall movements will be the same, but by having a local solution the overall length of HGV movements will be significantly shortened, thus producing fewer emissions.

"The £100+ million investment will also inject significant sums into the local economy, create 350 new jobs during construction and 30+ permanent long-term jobs when operating, along with up to 45 indirect jobs.”

Powerfuel Portland said it is now carrying out further assessments in order to submit a planning application to Dorset Council later in the spring.

Claims made in the statement have been disputed by a campaign group, which raised further concerns over heavy traffic passing along a school route in Wyke Regis.

Lucy Grieve of Stop Portland Waste Incinerator campaign said: “It is disappointing that Powerfuel refers to the total number of vehicles travelling on Portland Beach Road - the relevant number is the total of large articulated lorries.

"Residents are much more concerned with traffic outside the three schools in Wyke, and Boot Hill where NO2 levels are already nearly reaching Air Quality Objective limits, and Castletown, a narrow residential street.

"This is not a local solution at all. Powerfuel seems to suggest that some of the RDF will be imported by sea. This means it will come from far outside of Dorset, perhaps even from abroad. The nearest producer of RDF is at Wimborne. So even if Powerfuel was to secure a contract for Dorset’s waste, it would have first to be sent to Wimborne and then be brought back to Portland.

"Our view is that the plant would lead to a net loss of jobs as it would deter tourists from visiting the island and could jeopardise, for example, the Eden Portland project.”