Campaigners are demanding an investigation into a planned incinerator they say could be “an environmental horror story”.

Charity CPRE Sussex warned the incinerator, being considered for a site near Horsham, would emit a “toxic cloud” over beauty spots.

West Sussex County Council is due to make a decision on June 19.

Haulage company Britaniacrest’s wants to build a recycling and renewable energy facility at the former Wealden Brickworks to process commercial and industrial waste and generate electricity.

CPRE Sussex said the pollutants would be pumped into the atmosphere west of Sussex High Weald, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and upwind of Crawley and Horley and a number of reservoirs.

In an air quality assessment the list of pollutants includes heavy metals, such as arsenic and mercury, which the charity called “an environmental horror story” due to the damage they can cause to the environment and human health.

CPRE Sussex has demanded an investigation to determine how and where the pollutants emitted by the incinerator could affect farmland, livestock and the natural environment.

Horsham representative Dr Roger Smith said: “The cumulative impact of dioxins and of other persistent pollutants emitted by the facility, after coming to the ground, seems not to have been assessed.

“Mapping, showing where pollutants emitted by the proposed facility would come to earth and the extent of resulting ground fall/downwind-hazard areas ought to have been provided for public scrutiny, apart of the consultation. However, the data submitted with this application was obtained at Charlwood, near Gatwick, eight miles to the north, and not from the site of the proposed facility.

“We take the air we breathe and the water we drink for granted, but this proposal puts both at risk.”

Britaniacrest’s plans also include a 95m chimney.

The incinerator has attracted 347 objections with only six representations in support.

The firm said it understood residents were worried by emissions from the chimney but that the plant would be mostly carbon dioxide and water.

It said in a statement: “The plant will be designed to not produce more pollutant than is allowed and this will be controlled and regulated by the Environment Agency.

“The actual emissions are monitored continuously. If the plant exceeds the limits allowed, it can be closed down.

“The plant will not be a risk to human health around Horsham and could well actually combat air quality and climate change impacts.”

The site already operates as a waste handling facility and will generate electricity for the National Grid.