AN international organisation has warned there could be implications for the Dorset and east Devon UNESCO World Heritage coast if a waste incinerator is built on Portland.

Non-governmental organisation World Heritage Watch, which supports UNESCO in protecting and safeguarding sites of international value, has “categorically” objected to the proposed facility at Portland Port, as the site is in close proximity to the UNESCO-protected Jurassic coast.

The organisation, which is headquartered in Berlin, said it would be “irresponsible towards not only your own nation but the planet as a whole” for Dorset Council to approve the planning application from developer Powerfuel.

World Heritage Watch said a decision should not be taken before the planning application has been examined by a world heritage committee ‘in accordance with the operational guidelines of the World Heritage Convention, of which the UK is a state party.’

In an email to Dorset Council, World Heritage Watch chairman Stephan Doempk said: “It has been demonstrated that the planned incinerator may have detrimental effects on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property which (the council is) obliged to protect for all of humanity.

“By being inscribed on the World Heritage List, (the UNESCO site) has ceased to be a British heritage alone; it has become a common heritage of all mankind which the United Kingdom has a responsibility to take care of, for all of us on the planet.”

Mr Doempk said the site has “far-reaching implications,” as it is considered one of the world’s most significant teaching and research sites in the field of natural history.

“As an organisation enshrined to protect the world’s values, we find that there is nothing more rampant than the consequences of climate change and resources depletion to cause conflict changing our world irrevocably,” he added.

“We ask you to consider the international message that, in Dorset with its ‘maps’ of mass extinction, you can tell the world that mindset change is indeed happening. We can all be effective in starting to put right the imbalance in our world.”

In response, Powerfuel director Giles Frampton pointed out that the international organisation is not a statutory consultee in the planning process.

Mr Frampton said: "The Jurassic Coast was inscribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 2001 due to its geological features. Portland Port was specifically excluded from the world heritage site area due to its industrial nature and therefore there will be no geological impact as a result of the project on the world heritage site."

The waste incinerator application was due to be considered by the council on March 6 but was deferred.

It comes after Dorset Council’s in-house senior landscape architect raised concerns over potential implications for the Dorset and East Devon UNESCO coast, as previously reported in the Echo.