A WASTE planning manager at Dorset Council has claimed one of the biggest problems with the proposal for a waste to energy plant at Portland is the distances from where most of the rubbish is generated.

Felicity Hart told the public inquiry into the council’s planning refusal for the Powerfuel plant that if approved, it would lead to significantly more lorries travelling through Weymouth and Portland.

The minerals and waste planning manager said that it was the council’s aim to always keep the transfer of waste materials to a minimum.

In her evidence she admitted there could be some advantages of the port location, allowing ships to be used, but said the only plans she knew about was a proposal to take ‘bottom ash’ from the incinerator by sea to a facility at Greenwich.

She said that left the majority of incoming waste, much of it emanating from the south east of the county, to be brought in by road.

Dorset Echo:

The hearing was told that two similar waste to energy plants are currently being proposed for existing Dorset sites, at Canford Magna and Parley, one already with planning consent, the other in the process.

Ms Hart was pressed, but did not answer, what the Dorset Council attitude would be to the Canford proposal with a report said to be almost completed which would soon be sent to BCP Council as part of the consultation process.

Both the Canford and the Parley site are constrained by Green Belt and special nature site status and would be unlikely to get planning permission today under the current countywide waste strategy plan and the over-arching Spatial Strategy Plan, the hearing was told.

The senior Dorset Council officer said that many of the claims made for the Portland plant could only be given limit credence.

She said that the claim that power from the site could be used for cruise ships berthed at the port has not been as successful as hoped at Southampton where only 10 per cent of vessels had taken advantage of their shoreside power scheme since it started in 2022 and the claim that power could be ‘piped’ to the Portland prisons would have to overcome the obstacles of the power lines having to go through Sites of Special Scientific Interest and in the case of the Verne, breaching the Citadel, a scheduled monument which has special protection.

Dorset Echo:

Ms Hart said she would gave credit for the proposals to use the port  brownfield site but said the scale, mass and height of the proposed building in the location was not welcomed.

She said that overall the proposed development would have a negative impact on the adjoining Heritage Coast, South West Coastal Path and was contrary to proposals in the county’s Waste Plan, the Portland Neighbourhood Plan and was against aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“Taking all policies into account it is my view that it does not accord with the development plan overall… Although some limited weight in favour can be identified a significant range of harm has been found for landscape and heritage … there is no convincing justification why it should be located here given the (other) identified sites which are available.”