MARINE life for miles around could be affected by the Portland energy from waste plant, if approved, according to island councillor Rob Hughes.

He has told the public inquiry into Dorset Council’s planning refusal for the project that marine life, as well as people in poor health, could be affected by emissions from the 80-metre incinerator stack.

Powerfuel, the company behind the proposals, have consistently said that the plant will comply with all health, safety and pollution controls and have denied there will be any ill-effects from the chimney.

Cllr Hughes, a diver, said it was not worth risking the transfer of toxic particulates entering the food chain, that may not be captured by the plant’s filters, falling onto the land and sea in the surrounding area.

He told the public inquiry public session: “Last week I heard a lot of talk about the health of the Port, but no talk about the effects on the people of Portland and the workers within the port or the impact on marine life and the thriving aquaculture around our coast.

“Workers within the port have expressed to me health concerns me about the fly ash that will be produced by the incinerator and the carcinogens within it. The ash may well be blowing around the port and into the sea as it is loaded into ships for transporting elsewhere in the country.

“The marine life that surrounds the Dorset coast from Studland to Portland Bill and including Chesil Beach and Lyme Bay is nationally important to the health of our oceans. As such it is protected by Marine Conservation Zones and Special Areas of Conservation… “Toxins entering our marine chains can affecting our migrating local fish, marine mammals, dolphins, shellfish, seaweed cultivation and salt production … “Local people are at the front line of fishing, aquaculture and conservation, creating constructive collaborations and innovative solutions to our problems, but I fear their efforts will be negated if this energy from waste plant is approved , so I ask you to reject this appeal for the health of the people and wildlife of Portland,” he told the Inspector.

The hearing is now entering its final stages with the final Powerfuel expert witness due to give evidence today (Wednesday) from 9.30am followed by the summing up from both sides on Thursday with the inquiry expected to close on Thursday afternoon.

Once finished the Inspector’s report will go to the Secretary of State who will make the decision.