CAMPAIGNERS have accused the American firm behind controversial plans for a new incinerator as making a “feeble effort” to consult with the district’s residents.

Wheelabrator are planning to create the new waste-to-energy (WtE) facility at Barton Stacey, near Bullington Cross.

The business claims the facility will be able to process 500,000 tonnes of waste a year to power around 110,000 homes.

Ahead of formally submitting proposals to the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Andrea Leadsom, Wheelabrator has launched a community consultation with public events next month in Whitchurch, Andover, Barton Stacey, Longparish and Sutton Scotney.

However, Andy Jolliffe, of the Keep Test Valley Beautiful campaign group, said residents of Winchester were not being given a fair opportunity to voice their views.

“Making what we think is a feeble effort to canvass a city of more than 120,000 shows that they are doing the minimum they are obliged to,” said Mr Jolliffe.

“Visible from St Catherine’s Hill, it would overlook the Test Valley and be approximately the height of Big Ben’s tower and could contain two Winchester Cathedrals.”

The group urged residents to attend at least one of the consultation events.

“It looks like the end of the ‘phoney war’ and things are heating up,” said Mr Jolliffe. “We had hoped that Wheelabrator would realise by now what is obvious to most people that, for so many reasons, this is simply the wrong place to put it.”

The land earmarked for the facility is owned by Raymond Brown near the A303.

If the planning process goes as scheduled and predicted by the firm, construction could begin at the end of 2021.

Wheelabrator’s consultation document says: “The WtE facility will allow for the recovery of valuable materials. The waste received and processed will already have had materials suitable for recycling removed. In total, the WtE facility will use up to 500,000 tonnes of residual waste per annum that would otherwise have gone to landfill.”

or been exported to mainland Europe.”

Campaigners have raised concerns about the environment and ecology as well as pressure on transport infrastructure issues.