PLAIN English campaigners are demanding a public apology after alleging they were subject to verbal abuse when they tried to present waste chiefs with an "award" for their "unintelligible" consultation document.

As reported in Saturday's BEN, members of the Plain English Campaign presented their Golden Bull Award at an impromptu ceremony when councillors gathered for a meeting of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.

The award was in recognition of the quality of the Authority's consultation document on waste management for the region which maps out proposals for incineration and other forms of refuse disposal. It was dubbed the "worst printed garbage seen this year."

But when Plain English campaigner George Maher interupted the meeting to ask if he could present the award and say a few words he was refused and as the campaigners left a councillor hurled obscenities at them.

Mr Maher's wife and co-founder of the Plain English Campaign, Chrissie was furious and has demanded a full public apology.

She said: "In 26 years of campaigning we have never come across anything like this. We were absolutely stunned. He apologised to us afterwards over the phone but we think there should be a public apology.

"Most companies and organisations we award Golden Bulls take it on the chin in good spirit. They should know better than to react in this manner.

"Documents like this should be crystal clear and we often find that people who hide behind jargon like this have a vested interest in hiding things."

Mary Lawson, from Friends of the Earth, added: "It just shows how touchy they are about the subject and they have absolutely no sense of humour." A spokesman for the Authority confirmed there had been "an inappropriate comment made"at the meeting by one of the councillors but would not say who had made it.

He said: "The comment was made in the heat of the moment and had been influenced by attempts by members of the public to use a publicity stunt to interupt the start and business of the meeting.

"The member concerned immediately apologised for the comment which it was recognised could have caused offence to those present."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.