A protest campaign has been launched against plans to open a new waste incinerator in Irvine.

Work on the site at Oldhall West Industrial Estate is already approaching its second year, and construction is expected to be completed by 2025.

However locals hope to persuade environmental protection agency SEPA not to grant the incinerator owners an operator's licence.

Planning permission for the Murdoch Place plant was approved in January 2020.

Plans by owners Doveryard include the construction of a recycling and fuel preparation facility, an energy recovery building to produce electricity and heat and a 60m high chimney.

Last week it was reported that the developers want permission to introduce 24-hour working at the site until the end of August - and to increase the height of the chimney.

North Ayrshire Council planning officers have recommended approval of the latest application.

However, veteran Irvine campaigner Arthur West hopes to coordinate local opposition to the plans with a series of meetings.

The first was due to take place on Tuesday night this week in the town's Volunteer Rooms.

He already has the support of the North Ayrshire and Irvine, TUC of which he is secretary, Irvine Seniors Forum and Ayrshire Greens.

He believes that not enough consultation was done at the time with local people over the incinerator.

Mr West said: "The Scottish Government placed a moratorium on new incinerators last year but this was after planning permission had been granted in Irvine.

"I think this is an issue that bypassed local people because of the pandemic.

"I have written to the chair and vice chair of the planning committee to let them know there are local concerns.

"I have also asked the council what consultation was done at the time.

"There should have been more in my opinion."

Last year plans by Viridor to build an incinerator near Stonehouse in Lanarkshire were withdrawn after local people objected.

Mr West is hoping that a similar campaign in Irvine will have the same success.

He added: "We are concerned about the public health implications of any emissions from the plant chimney and would like to know how they are to be monitored.

"I have also written to SEPA to make them aware of our objections to any operators licence being granted.

"We also believe that the incinerator proposal can also be called in at any time by the Scottish Government."

Doveryad have previously said that 200 workers will be employed building the incinerator plant – with up to 30 permanent jobs to be created at the site.

They say the plant will recover energy from waste that cannot be recycled - avoiding the materials going to landfill - and provide electricity for up to 30,000 homes.

A spokesperson for Ayrshire Greens said:"We are against incinerators, including energy-from-waste plants being used as an alternative to recycling and reducing waste.

"It’s the wrong choice for the environment and the wrong choice for local people.

"While 200 jobs is a boost to local livelihoods, there are questions over how tenable these jobs really are as the effects of climate change become more drastic and pronounced."

Doveryard and North Ayrshire Council have been approached for comment.