MAJOR construction work to build Gloucestershire’s controversial Javelin Park incinerator is now underway.

After years of legal challenges, protest marches, delays and hold ups, spades have officially hit the ground to construct the giant facility near Haresfield.

Piling equipment has arrived on site to install piled foundations to support the major buildings, process equipment and waste bunker.

Other site preparation work continues, with construction of the site access road being completed in the next couple of weeks and the temporary construction compound area by the end of the year.

Andrew Bendall, project director at Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB), said: “With the site preparation works largely complete, we are now into our first phase of heavier construction activities.

“This is a large build project that requires expert engineering and specialist construction management as we progress through the programme.

“The team here at Urbaser Balfour Beatty have a wealth of experience in Energy from Waste and other infrastructure projects across the country, and internationally and are bringing their expertise to Gloucestershire.

“We are continuing to update the wider public on construction progress through our regular Community Liaison Group meetings and a monthly update bulletin.”

The incinerator – or ‘Energy from Waste facility’ - is being built under a contract worth half a billion pounds between Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and a consortium of Spanish-owned Urbaser and civil engineering firm Balfour Beatty.

The facility, which will dispose of the non-recyclable household waste of Gloucestershire’s 600,000 residents, will not be up and running until 2019.

At present, over half of residents’ household waste is sent to landfill which cost more than £10million in tax last year.

Gloucestershire’s aim is to recycle 70 per cent of its household waste by 2030 with the remaining 30 per cent being treated at the Energy from Waste facility.

However last year GCC recycled five per cent below its own target of 53 per cent.

The authority has failed to achieve its recycling objectives for the last four years in a row.

There is currently a debate about the best way to raise these figures.

A community interest company in Stroud is proposing an alternative to the incinerator which would aim to recycle more than 90 per cent of the county’s waste instead of burning.

First on the list for Community R4C is a project to build a waste recycling plant near Stroud which would use advanced technology to sort rubbish.

They say this would be greener, cheaper, smaller and more community-centric than the waste burner.

In the background to all this, the county is still awaiting a decision on whether GCC and UBB will have to publish the full and unredacted copy of its £500m contract.

No decision has yet been made in the High Court battle. Campaigners accuse GCC of trying to keep key details a secret from the taxpayer.

GCC argues key details have been blacked out because of concerns over commercial confidentiality.

UBB say the facility will generate for export around 14.5 MW of electricity which is enough to power 25,000 homes.

The facility will create 40 jobs for the area when operational.