CONTROVERSIAL plans for a waste incinerator in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) have been scrapped after a two-year battle.

Campaigners are celebrating a "people's victory" after Grundon abandoned proposals for the "eyesore" comprising three 45m (147ft) high buildings with two 75m (246ft) chimneys, at Old Kiln Quarry in Chieveley.

The plans were refused by West Berkshire Council's planning chiefs in April and the company had six months to appeal against the decision.

But Grundon last week announced it is binning the proposals and will look to build the incinerator elsewhere.

Chairman of campaign group West Berkshire Against Grundon Incinerator (WBAGI) Simon Conington said: "We are delighted with this news and truly believe that this illustrates just what is possible when a community works together.

"The building of a waste incinerator on an AONB was always an inappropriate development in WBAGI's view, and we have done everything within our power to ensure its protection for this and future generations.

"WBAGI would like to say a very big thank you to the public and local community for all their support throughout our campaign. This is definitely a people's victory."

It is also good news for critics, who include Newbury MP Richard Benyon, the Ministry of Defence and those who signed a 2,000-strong petition, amassed by WBAGI, which told planning bosses the incinerator would damage the landscape, ruin the view and harm their health.

Grundon's director of estates, Andrew Short, admitted the company was "disappointed" by the "missed opportunity" and said: "It does not make sense for us to spend significant amounts of money on planning and legal fees when these can be better spent securing consents elsewhere.

"It is hugely disappointing as this really is a missed opportunity for West Berkshire - not only in reducing its dependence on landfill and generating enough power for 30,000 homes, but also financially.

He added: "Our scheme would have generated up to �1m a year for the council in business rates which is quite considerable when you think it could have gone some way to off setting West Berkshire's �9m of austerity measures and cuts.

"In addition permanent jobs would have been brought to the area as well as a significant economic boost during the construction for local businesses."