A PROTEST by a campaign group fighting against a proposed waste incinerator has been hailed a success by organisers after more than 300 people are believed to have attended.

Stop Portland Waste Incinerator (SPWI) held the protest on Saturday to campaign against a £100 million waste energy plant at Portland Port which has been proposed by Powerfuel in a planning application which was submitted last week.

Campaigners met near Victoria Square Roundabout to hear speeches from organisers, local residents and councillors before the group marched to the gates of Portland Port.

Social distancing guidelines were adhered to and most people wore masks. The event was attended by families, individuals and groups of friends.

Lucy Grieve, SPWI spokeswoman, said: "I am so happy with the incredible turnout. We have worked so hard raising public awareness because people need to know this is happening right on their doorstep.

"There is now a drive to get thousands of people to submit valid planning objections to Dorset Council so they can see what we think of the proposal.

"This decision will be made by democratically elected councillors and they need to take stock of what the people are saying.

"We are not just signatures on a petition. We are real human beings with real concerns."

SPWI launched the campaign in January to raise concerns about the incinerator's potential impact on human health, the environment, and the local ecology.

The group has commissioned three independent reports to examine the potential impact of the proposed plant on the local ecology and air quality and to scrutinise the planning application submitted by Powerfuel.

Reverend Alisdair Kay, Rector of Wyke Regis, made a speech at the protest. He said: "We all want to preserve our planet and building this will affect our health and the health of the planet.

"We are in for a long fight but it is a fight that is worth having."

Last week Powerfuel announced that the construction of the incinerator would bring more than 300 jobs to Portland as well as 30 direct jobs and 60 indirect jobs once construction is complete.

SPWI campaigner, John Tweedle, said: "The health and environmental impact of the incinerator is not worth it for the creation of a few minimum wage jobs on Portland. This is the wrong solution in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Portland resident, Claudia Webb, said: "I don't think this is a good location for an incinerator. I don't want Portland to become a dumping ground."

A planning application for the development of an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) at Portland Port was submitted to Dorset Council last week.

Powerfuel says the facility will produce electricity and hot water by incinerating waste by using new, clean technology.

Director of Powerfuel, Giles Frampton, said: "Technology has moved on considerably over recent years and our Energy Recovery Facility is cleaner, more efficient and capable of using waste as a fuel to generate low carbon energy."

The application proposes the ERF will use waste as fuel to produce enough low carbon energy to power around 30,000 homes.

A spokesman for Powerfuel said: "The tightly regulated ERF is a major investment in Portland, that will provide a boost to the local economy, create new full-time jobs and generate new business opportunities at the Port, while providing a local alternative to exporting Dorset's waste out of the county.

"By using waste as a fuel to generate low carbon energy, the facility will reduce the need to burn fossil fuels and will divert waste from landfill."

The application will be validated by Dorset Council and then be subject to a period of consultation before the application goes to committee.