Commercial waste from across the region will be imported into a South Hams beauty spot if plans to build an incinerator go ahead, local people fear.
Worried residents from the Ivybridge area met environmental experts last week as part of consultations into plans for a waste incinerator at New England Quarry, south of Lee Mill.
The Environment Agency is considering whether to grant a licence to operators Viridor for an energy from waste plant capable of handling up to 275,000 tonnes a year.
The company would also process ash from the incinerator, and would build a new access road to the A38 at Lee Mill.
Devon County Council will consider planning aspects of the plant on October 24.
Residents have until Friday to make their views known on the Environment Agency's draft environmental permit (email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting application number EPR/PP3133FC/A001).
The incinerator was one of two shortlisted to handle Plymouth waste. It was beaten in a bidding war by MVV Environment Devonport, which is now building an incinerator at Weston Mill.
Sylvia and Peter Hamilton from South Brent said their fears were not allayed by the consultation.
"I don't feel they have really investigated the full effects on the environment," Mrs Hamilton said. She was concerned that the company would be importing commercial waste.
Trevor and Valerie Vassallo, from Ivybridge, remained opposed. Mr Vassallo said: "There is only one reason for a second incinerator on top of the Plymouth one, and that is to burn commercial rubbish from all over the country."
A woman who lives near the proposed incinerator but did not want to be named said: "It's in completely the wrong place. They are going to rip up beautiful ancient woodlands to build an access road."
Another woman who did not want to be named said she was concerned because "the Environment Agency never turns down a permit application".
Judy Proctor, the area environmental manager, admitted that they had not turned down an incinerator permit. But she said incinerator companies knew they had to use the latest technology.
She said the cost of applying for a permit was £60,000, and a company's reputation was at stake, so they were unlikely to get borderline applications.
Modern incinerators were "a tried-and-tested technology, which is why waste companies use them – emissions are very low compared to the background emissions".
She said it was not up to the Environment Agency to decide whether the location was the right one, though it had to take local conditions into account when assessing the impact.