RUNNERS with a mission braved Storm Ciara to raise awareness of controversial plans to build an incinerator close to Barton Stacey.

One hundred people took part in the Love Run which saw participants jog between the village and Longparish - the two villages set to be most affected by the proposal.

The 10k run was organised to highlight the fight against the proposed waste-to-energy plant by American company Wheelabrator.

The two villages are the closest communities to the A303 Barton Stacey junction where the incinerator could be built, and the route passed well-loved views, which campaigners say will be destroyed if the incinerator is given the go-ahead.

Some started from Barton Stacey and others from Longparish, with plenty of high fives as they passed each other while battling the storm force winds.

A cluster of politicians were also on hand, with Test Valley Borough Council leader Cllr Phil North started the Barton Stacey contingent and then ran the course, while fellow councillor David Drew acted as a marshal after waving off the Longparish runners.

Hampshire County councillor Andrew Gibson was among the runners and Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes dispensed drinks and jelly babies at the half way mark.

Run organiser Jeremy Barber declared the event “enjoyable and memorable”.

He added: “The welcome in the village halls was amazing. It's great that this event has got us talking together and helped focus on the threat to our beautiful countryside. The weather probably helped create a buzz of fun and achievement.”

The event raised several hundred pounds for the Keep Test Valley Beautiful campaigners who are gearing up for the next stage of the fight when Wheelabrator submit their formal planning application later this year.