PLANS for a multi-million pound waste-to-energy plant set to create hundreds of jobs in Hampshire have moved a step closer.

A new energy recovery facility able to process 330,000 tonnes of waste a year could be built to serve the county.

Veolia UK has now submitted its plans to Hampshire County Council and residents will be able to have their say until August 14, 2020.

The scheme for land off the A31, near Holybourne, Alton, would be part of a £200m investment set to create up to 350 jobs during the construction period.

According to Veolia UK, the scheme will save 65,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year compared with sending the waste to landfill.

But the proposals have sparked concerns amid local residents who are reportedly worried about the impact the scheme would have on the environment and local businesses.

The site currently occupied by Alton Material Recovery Facility and Waste Transfer Station would see a 40m-high building with two 80m chimneys.

The building would include a residual waste reception hall and bunker, the thermal treatment process equipment and boiler, a turbine hall, ash handling, flue gas treatment facilities, offices, a workshop, stores, education, visitor and staff facilities.

According to the proposals, the facility would be able to generate 247,500 MW hours of electricity a year, enough to power 75,000 homes.

Official documents also revealed that the plant in Alton could add an estimated £3.26m to the local economy each year, creating between 40 to 45 permanent full time jobs.

But No Wey Incinerator Action Group has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for specialist advice.

A statement on their online fundraising page reads: “No Wey Incinerator Action Group is working on behalf of concerned local residents and businesses to oppose the Veolia application. We will encourage as many people to respond to the planning application as we possibly can. Our primary aim is to ensure that the community has access to expert planning advice upon which to base their formal objection during the statutory planning process. In order to pay for this specialist advice, the Action Group is raising funds.”

The facility is set to serve the whole of Hampshire while the Alton and Portsmouth materials recycling facilities are being considered for replacement.

Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “This facility will allow Hampshire to lead the way in waste management, saving 65,000 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to landfill and delivering a 30% increase in energy efficiency. In terms of a green recovery this represents an important investment in new clean infrastructure that will contribute towards reaching the carbon net zero target as well as providing new construction jobs and permanent local employment.”

The news follows reports earlier this year that US firm Wheelabrator withdrew plans for an incinerator near Andover after protesters described the scheme as “monstrous”.

The county council said it is anticipated the plans will be considered towards the end of this year.