A priest and an Olympic sailor were among a small band of protesters who took to the streets to demonstrate against the proposed Portland incinerator.

The action at the weekend outside the gates of Portland Port was part of a national campaign highlighting growing concerns over toxins and CO2 emissions from burning waste.

Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, and amid concern about climate and ecological breakdown, the Stop the Burn campaign is being launched.

Locally, a march against the incinerator will be held on Saturday, October 16.

Campaigners say incineration capacity in England is poised to double this decade, at a time when the Climate Change Committee has called on the UK waste sector to halve its greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead of waste incineration - which creates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and potentially harmful pollutants - campaigners want to see 'more waste prevention, reuse, repair, and recycling to slow climate collapse'.

The protesters claim the Portland plant would produce 202,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The action comes days after an Environment Agency consultation closed on the operating permit application for the Portland incinerator.

Last week the Echo reported how Weymouth and Portland town councils would be spending £40,000 on a review of the permit application, enabling experts to evaluate evidence and prepare a formal challenge if there are grounds to do so.

It comes amid concerns about health risks, noise, traffic and the potential effect on the Jurassic Coast.

Powerfuel's plant would use waste as a fuel to produce 15MW of energy, supplied to the national grid - enough to power around 30,000 homes - as well as providing shore power to Portland Port.

A planning application is to be considered by Dorset Council at a later date.

Among those protesting on Portland were sailor Laura Baldwin, who competed in the 2004 Olympics and who said: "Research shows that waste incinerators are three times more likely to be sited in poorer areas, such as Portland, which is among the most deprived in the country."

Another protester was the Rector of Wyke Regis, the Reverend Brother Alasdair Kay, who said: "My parish has within its boundary the Unesco World Heritage Site of Chesil Beach. To not stand up for the ecological wellbeing of my parish would be a dereliction of my duties as a parish priest.

"I am also a Governor of Wyke Federation and chaplain to All Saints School. The future of the children in my parish is in real danger due to climate change."

He added: "We have talked about climate change for 30 years with inadequate action to cut carbon emissions. The time of talking is drawing to a close. Sadly I find myself along with other activists being compelled by the inaction of government to take the route of non violent direct action.

"This application for an incinerator is a bad thing and I will take action with a clear conscience. I apologise for the inconvenience caused however the command of Christ to Love my Neighbour calls me to act.”

Protesters will gather for the October 16 march at 10am on the green beside Victoria Square roundabout, Portland.