Back Story

Powerfuel Portland Ltd are proposing to build a monstrous polluting waste incinerator in the iconic and highly visible location of Portland’s north-east coast.

Our campaign aims to:

  • stop Powerfuel Portland building a massive incinerator at one of the most prominent, iconic and environmentally sensitive locations on the Dorset Coast
  • raise public awareness of the proposed incinerator and our concerns about it
  • gather over 5000 signatures for a petition against the proposed incinerator
  • raise funds to pay for a specialist consultancy reports, specialist legal advice, advertising, leafleting and more
  • keep the public informed of developments

The Proposed Incinerator

  • Who wants to build it?

A company called Powerfuel Portland Ltd was formed in 2019 by two men, neither of them local to Weymouth and Portland, for the purpose of building a huge “ERF”, otherwise known as a waste incinerator, on the north-east coast of the Isle of Portland.  

  • What site have they chosen?

The chosen site is on land owned by Langham Industries, of which Portland Port is one of its subsidaries (Portland Port supports Powerfuel’s application). About 2.3 hectares in size, it is situated right by the sea on Balaclava Bay.  To the West, it borders directly onto the steep slope of the Verne Citadel and onto land designated internationally, nationally and locally as being of special ecological importance. 

The Isle of Portland itself is a dead end, far removed from waste treatment centres, the nearest of which is at Wimborne.  It is reached by a single road across a causeway which runs through further areas of great ecological importance for both flora and fauna, including Portland Harbour, itself a Sensitive Marine Area.

A critical feature of the chosen site is its position in the lee of a steep hill.  This means that the emissions from the chimney stack, exiting at 87.2m metres above sea level, will vent not only directly onto rare and precious limestone grasslands but also onto housing on the slopes of the Verne, and at The Grove, as well as HM Prison The Verne. The close proximity of human residents, some as close as 500 metres, is also an unusual feature of the chosen site.

  • What fuel would it burn?

The vast incinerator would burn up to 202,000 tonnes of ‘Refuse Derived Fuel’ (RDF) a year.  This waste fuel is created at special waste management plants and would have to be imported from far afield to feed the constant needs of the incinerator.  

  • What about pollutants in the chimney emissions?

Some of the pollutants in the emissions would need to be kept within the levels set out in the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (adopted into UK regulations).  These levels have been agreed as industrially ‘acceptable’ but are in no way without harms to human and ecological health.  Typically, levels of acid gas emissions and micro-particle emissions from waste incinerators are high.  In addition, the proposed plant would emit about 577 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide every day.

  • What is the business model for such a plant?

Waste incineration plants are highly profitable.  Waste authorities pay high fees to have their RDF incinerated and the electricity thus generated is usually sold to the National Grid, generating further income (although the Powerfuel incinerator is aimed more at providing shore power to moored ships).  Metals extracted in the process are also sold, as is the ‘Incinerator Bottom Ash’.  Occasionally, the plant can also sell heat produced but often this is too difficult.  The underground pipes to carry the heat to recipients would be particularly difficult to install successfully around the site Powerfuel has chosen. Our most recent information is that Powerfuel has identified no customer for the heat their plant would produce.  

Incinerator, Buckinghamshire. Notice how there’s no housing and no resistrictions (i.e. Portland’s hill) nearby!