A PETITION being signed in the hope of preventing a waste incinerator being built on Portland is 'tantalisingly close' to its 5,000 signatures target.

Campaign group Stop Portland Waste Incinerator (SPWI) is hoping to block the £100 million project put forward by Powerfuel Portland to build an incinerator at Portland Port which could power around 30,000 homes per year.

The petition is less than 100 signatures off its target and campaigners are desperately hoping to get the last few signatures they need on their petition to get to 5,000, a target they believe will give the campaign enough credibility to prompt a council debate on whether an incinerator should be built on Portland.

Leader of SPWI, Lucy Grieve, said: "5,000 signatures is a yardstick because in Dorset if you get a petition with over 5,000 signatures you are entitled to have your issue debated at a full cabinet meeting so it suggests that 5,000 is viewed as being a really significant number.

"The elected councillors making a decision on this will know the significance of us getting to 5,000 signatures."

SPWI has voiced concerns of the potential health risks of building a waste incinerator on Portland. They have also taken issue with the visual impact of the building, which has due to have a 50-metre high chimney, and the unknown environmental affects on the land and in the sea.

Lucy Grieve said: "Our three main concerns are on the visual impact, human health and the impact on the environment, and damage to internationally important and fragile ecology.

The group will be holding a protest on September 12 on the site the incinerator will be built on unless councillors reject the planning application.

Joining the protest is Reverend Alisdair Kay, Rector of All Saints and St Edmunds, Wyke Regis.

He said: "My objections to the scheme are based on my experience of a similar plant in Derby and its effects on the health of local residents. I worry about its impact on the already busy road to Portland."

Powerfuel Portland held a public event in order to get feedback from the public and says it has taken local concerns on board.

It says the port site means that refuse can be delivered by land and sea, and that it would use new, clean technology to incinerate waste.

It has previously said 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.

It 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.