WORK on building Gloucestershire’s controversial incinerator is set to start in the spring.

At its cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 11 Gloucestershire County Council will be considering an update to the contract following the recent judicial review, which will pave the way for construction to begin.

GCC controversially signed a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) to build the energy from waste facility on Javelin Park, near Haresfield in February 2013.

Opposition to the contract has always been fierce and due to this the project has been delayed in getting planning permission and has even faced a legal challenge brought by Stroud District Council.

Now that the legal challenge has failed, officers are working with UBB to iron out the last of the planning conditions and update the contract so work can begin.

The council has confirmed that prep work would begin straight after Christmas and the first spades could be in the ground as soon as next March.

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, cabinet member for waste, said: “Disposing of Gloucestershire’s rubbish that can’t be recycled in a clean and efficient way while generating electricity at the same time will save taxpayers money, support our aim of 70 per cent recycling and make a massive reduction in Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions.

“The landfill site will be full within the next year and our contract is up in less than three years so we have to find an alternative.

“Now the end is in sight, we could finally start work on building the facility that will help us stop burying our household waste in Gloucestershire once and for all.”

The facility would deal with Gloucestershire’s residual household waste – the waste that’s left after residents have reduced, reused and recycled all they can. GCC claim that it would also save the county more than £150 million.

In the meantime a group which launched an alternative waste treatment plant designed to undermine UBB’s have said that if they were to start building their plant in the spring it would be operational by late 2017.

Outlining how their plant would be more efficient Jon Scott, technical lead for Community Resource Recovery, Recycling and Refining Centre (CR4C), said: “Treating our waste as a resource will save us £10 million per year with 94 per cent recycling.

“The emissions from the incinerator are less than landfill but CR4C generate no emissions, in fact it will remove 114,000 tonnes per year from the atmosphere.”

He also said that CR4C will deal with all household waste, claiming it would save the council more than £15 million. However the group is still waiting to finalise planning permission which they insist ‘will not be an issue’ and although they have word of financial backing nothing is set in stone.

A spokesman from protest group GlosVAIN said: “GlosVAIN is astounded to see that a total of over £30 million is to be given to UBB upfront to start the incinerator project.

“Surely it would be better if GCC cancelled the project right now and paid the undisclosed cancellation fee.

“We could then save £10 million per annum by using a better and cheaper alternative such as R4C.”

Currently over half of residents’ household waste is sent to landfill, which creates harmful green house gases and costs more than £10 million in tax every year.

Hempsted landfill site will be full by the end of 2016 and the council’s contract with Cory ends in 2018 so the council is keen to move fast to have alternative plans in place by then.

GCC’s aim is to recycle 70 percent of its household waste with remaining 30 percent being dealt with at Javelin Park.

The council is also looking to change the way the project is paid for by investing more money upfront to reduce the cost overall.

The report recommends that £17 million is allocated from revenue reserves to make this contribution. The change to financing will help to mitigate costs from the delay.