Chris Tarrant has joined campaigners who have slammed plans to build a ‘monstrous’ industrial incinerator in an idyllic beauty spot where he enjoys trout fishing.

It comes as this week the planning officers at Test Valley Borough Council revealed they would recommend that councillors vote down proposals to build a gigantic plant in Barton Stacey.

The former quiz show host and keen angler is a regular visitor to the Test Valley in Hampshire which has an international reputation for salmon and trout fishing.

Mr Tarrant has blasted proposals by US firm Wheelabrator to construct the industrial plant in the heart of the picturesque valley, near to villages where average house prices exceed £800,000.

The former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host, 73, who once said “there is no more perfect a place to spend a sunny spring day than the River Test” has called for the entire scheme to be scrapped.

He said: “I had thought, with the whole world at last beginning to wake up – albeit far too late - to the need to protect our environment for future generations, that hideous ideas like plonking this monstrous incinerator in one of the most beautiful valleys in Britain were surely now just a thing of the past!

“This cannot happen and it mustn’t.”

The Test is a fishing spot popular with other celebrities including Jeremy Paxman, footballer Vinnie Jones, actor Nicolas Cage, the Royal Family and even George Bush Senior - who caught an 8lb trout on a visit.

So precious is it, that Lord Crickhowell, former chairman of the National Rivers Authority, once said the river should be treated ‘as a great work of art or music’.

Campaigners claim the area faces being ‘destroyed’ by the waste incinerator, which is so large it could house two cathedrals inside it.

There are now fears that the incinerator’s need for huge quantities of water and the resulting pollution could jeopardise its status the world famous River Test.

It is also feared the ‘hideous’ industrial plant, which Wheelabrator hope to use to burn half a million tonnes of household waste yearly, will pollute the atmosphere and cause traffic chaos.

The proposed facility is 185 metres long, 70 metres wide and 46 metres high.

Campaigners say that once constructed, nearby Winchester Cathedral could fit inside it twice.

Protest signs have been put up as part of the campaign, which is supported by a former adviser to David Cameron when he was Prime Minister and ex-F1 drivers Jody Scheckter and Jonathan Palmer, who live locally.

F1 driver-turned businessman Mr Palmer, who runs six circuits including Brands Hatch, lives in Longparish and said the plans are ‘absolutely outrageous’.

Wheelabrator claim the incinerator will save up to 500,000 tonnes of waste from being dumped in landfill sites or sent abroad as well as generating enough energy for more than 110,000 homes.