Reasons to say NO!

Landscape character and setting

This massive plant would be a major eyesore, significantly damaging not only the iconic character of the Isle of Portland but also views from miles around, including the impressive views of the Isle as approached along the A354 causeway, distant views from Dorset’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and views from the sea. This would fundamentally harm the setting of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the landscape character of the whole region.


The site lies directly next to areas of international, national and local ecological importance with others such as the Chesil Beach and the Fleet Special Protection Area nearby.  The pollutants, especially acid gases, in the emissions from the chimney stack would threaten exceptionally rare and sensitive plants and insects, such as butterflies, some unique to Portland, which are vulnerable to nitrogen deposition and changes in air quality.

“the air quality impacts of the development as a whole is likely to degrade the habitats and species within the zone of influence” Natural England

Human health

The site is too close to a densely populated area.  The nearest homes are less than 500 metres away and would be on a level with emissions from the chimney.  Also close by are vulnerable populations, such as HM Prison The Verne, Foylebank Court Retirement Housing and Care and a proposed special school.  The polluting emissions, for example about 577 tonnes of CO2 a day and ultra-fine particles, together with noise and light pollution, would threaten the amenity and health of residents, not least those with respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD. 

“It is really concerning that babies and children are particularly susceptible as air pollution can impair immune-system development in the womb and adversely affect children’s cognitive development” Consultant Respiratory Physician

Source of waste fuel

No information has been given as to where the Refuse (=waste) Derived Fuel (RDF) which the plant would burn would come from. The site certainly makes no logistical sense in the management of Dorset Council’s black bin waste.  It is not one of the sites identified for development in the current Waste Plan; it is far removed from Canford where the RDF from our waste is created and therefore does not comply with the ‘proximity principle’ whereby waste should be handled close to source.  Whatever the source of the RDF, most of it would come from far afield, including perhaps from abroad. The company state they would accept no restriction on the geographical source of the RDF.

Visitor Economy

The local economy is heavily dependent on tourism, with the visitor economy on Portland increasing greatly in recent years. Visitors come to the Isle for a wide range of watersports, climbing, line-fishing, walking, bird-watching, swimming and more. The visual and polluting impacts of the plant threaten the vibrant but fragile tourism economy in the whole area.

 “The development location means the stack in particular (and the continuous plume), will be widely visible in the landscape, and might in the future deter visitors to Portland due to a less natural visual offer, perceived reduction in air quality and/or traffic-related impacts, such as increased congestion.” Dorset Wildlife Trust

Traffic – congestion and emissions

It makes no sense to bring waste fuel (RDF) from far afield, the nearest possible source being near Wimborne, along narrow Dorset roads, past pinch points which are already badly affected by congestion and by poor air quality due to traffic emissions.  One of these, Foords Corner, is the location of 3 schools. The emissions from an additional 80 articulated lorry journeys each day of the week would worsen existing problems as well as threaten protected species along the route, such as the Little Terns of Chesil Beach and the Fleet SPA.

Marine Environment

The seas around Weymouth and Portland contain 4 Marine Conservation Zones.  Shellfish and fishing industries, together with humans bathing and engaging in water-sports, would be at potential risk from residual contaminants in water discharged from the plant into the sea.

“Portland Harbour… is a Sensitive Marine Area and thus habitat of national significance; it is unique in England for its deep sheltered mud habitats supporting sea pens” Dorset Wildlife Trust


The site is surrounded by many heritage assets, including Portland Castle, a Scheduled Monument and Grade I listed building, the Underhill Conservation Area with its many Grade II listed buildings, other Scheduled Monuments, listed buildings and archaeological sites.  The significance and experience of this heritage cluster in the iconic geographical context of Portland would be damaged by the huge incinerator, its constant plume of polluting emissions, noise pollution, and the flow of large waste lorries.

“located in proximity to a large number of designated heritage assets… This project.. has the potential to impact on the significance of sensitive, designated heritage assets via a change in setting” and has “the potential to result in a loss of significance” Historic England

It doesn’t make climate sense

Government statistics show that the higher the waste incineration rate, the lower the recycling rate. Waste incineration produces larger quantities of greenhouse gases and harmful micro-particles than other methods of generating electricity, such as gas. The proposed plant would be particularly inefficient as, due to local conditions, it is unlikely that any viable and cost-effective means could be found to use the spare heat generated. Once government targets to reduce packaging and improve recycling rates are met, only a few years after the plant would come on-stream, there will be insufficient black bin waste to fill waste incinerator capacity in England.

“The development is at odds with the climate and ecological emergency status within Dorset and is likely to contribute to the problem rather than improve….In the absence of environmental gains the application is unlikely to fall under sustainable development on policy grounds” Natural England