Defiant campaigners hope the successes enjoyed by people fighting to clear their names in the Post Office scandal will help inspire their campaign.

The Irvine Without Incinerators group has vowed to continue their battle to stop a controversial waste-to-energy plant opening in the town.

Plans are well advanced for the facility, owned by Doveryard Ltd in the Oldhall West Industrial Estate, which is set to open in 2025.

Group member Arthur West said: “We understand that the deadline for making objections to this ill-advised project is March 31. These objections need to be with SEPA – the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

“Already we estimate that over 300 people have written to SEPA – objecting to the location of this facility in the Irvine area.

"We have been advised that SEPA have to reply to these letters individually before they decide on whether or not they will grant a permit to this waste-burning and polluting plant.

The campaign group is contacting SEPA seeking a clear assurance that all those who have objected to the proposal will receive an individual letter in response.

Mr West added: “We will also be writing to all the local MSPs to help us ensure that all the objectors to this plant receive the courtesy of an individual reply from SEPA.

"The companies behind this project such as Octopus Energy who are providing the finance might think our group are little people who can be ignored.

“However, as the recent case involving sub-postmasters showed, sometimes those regarded as little people can eventually win a victory. Our message to the companies involved in backing this project is that we are not going away.

“Respected environmental organisation Friends of the Earth has said burning materials at incinerator plants produces toxic pollutants that can harm the health of local communities. This is why our campaign will continue.”

A spokesperson for Doveryard said: “The state-of-the-art Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility will only process non-hazardous waste material after it cannot be recycled any further. 

“This is a safe and environmentally preferable way of dealing with waste which would otherwise go to landfill or be transported abroad. In line with the 2025 Scottish landfill ban, it is vital that post-recycled waste is dealt with properly to prevent landfill which has significant environmental impacts due to ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.  

“An environmental impact assessment was undertaken as part of the planning process and when operational the facility will be subject to a strict pollution, prevention, control (PPC) permit issued and regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

"Emissions limits within the PPC permit are governed by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and are recognised to be below those considered to be harmful to human health.

"Public Health Scotland is clear that the regulatory regime governing this technology is designed to protect human health and the environment and takes a precautionary approach in setting emission standards.

“The site will use advanced technology to continuously monitor any emissions to make sure they adhere to the stringent standards set out in the permit at all times. Anyone with concerns can get in touch via:”