CONSTRUCTION work is due to begin on the controversial multi- million pound taxpayer-funded Hartlebury incinerator.

Mercia Waste Management, who will run the energy-from-waste plant at the Hartlebury Trading Estate on behalf of Worcestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council, have announced initial work on preparing the ground and foundations for the building will soon begin.

The firm says the construction will take 33 months with commissioning of the plant due to begin in the spring of 2017.

Following a lengthy procurement process, Mercia has chosen Swiss- based technology provider Hitachi Zosen Inova as the main engineering and construction contractor.

Ian Barber, manager at Mercia, said: “After a diligent planning and financial negotiation process, we are delighted to be moving on to the construction phase.”

Worcestershire taxpayers will fork out £125 million and Herefordshire Council the other £40 million to Mercia Waste to build the plant.

The incinerator could last until at least 2042 but by then the total cost would be £1.65 billion. Worcestershire County Council said “doing nothing” could cost £2.1bn by then