Disappointed campaigners have handed more than 3,000 objection comments to County Hall.

Campaign group Parishes Against Incinerator (PAIN) handed over the 3,168 objections to Gent Fairhead’s plans for an integrated waste management facility, in Rivenhall, to Essex County Council on Monday.

Later that same day the Environment Agency announced it had approved the developer’s permit, which will allow a revised stack height of 58 metres above surrounding ground level.

Campaigner Nick Unsworth said: “Clearly we are disappointed and we will be asking the Environment Agency questions as to why they have allowed this to go ahead.

“We will be asking the Environment Agency to review the decision and we will take this to the courts.”

The waste management facility would include a heat and power plant, a recycling plant, an anaerobic digester, a mechanical biological treatment plant, a pulp plant and a waste water treatment centre at Rivenhall Airfield.

The application is an implemented planning permission and construction works have already started. The site access road has been widened between Church Road and Ash Lane.

High voltage electricity and water mains have been diverted around the site, which has been cleared ready for the main civil engineering works to start. Mr Unsworth said: “If it was not detrimental to health why would you put this in the middle of rural countryside?

“We will carry on fighting.”

Campaigner Alex Stevenson added: “We are now over capacity for incinerators in this country and we don’t need it.

“Essex County Council should not be making this decision because they could be one of the clients.”

Ground investigation works have also been carried out to allow engineers to design retaining walls and foundations for around and beneath the site. Topsoil and subsoil has been removed and stockpiled ready for use on new embankments surrounding the site.

To view the application visit planning.essex.gov.uk.