THE county council's deputy leader has defended Worcestershire's new £165 million incinerator - saying it will help the fight against landfill.

In just six months' time the massive rubbish-burning plant will fling open its doors, with the construction of the site currently still on schedule.

Councillor Anthony Blagg, the deputy leader of County Hall's Conservative leadership, says the facility stands to give Worcestershire a big boost.

The politician, who faced years of vociferous opposition from nearby householders over the plant, also says the incinerator has been designed to cope with all the property growth expected in the county over the coming years.

He has also dismissed fears bosses at the site will need to hurl recycling into the incinerator to keep it running, insisting it will only need to take "residual waste" - normal household rubbish.

"In the spring of next year we'll have that incinerator at Hartlebury which will convert waste into energy," he said.

"People say 'you're going to have to chuck everything into the incinerator', no we're not - the energy from waste plant has been sized to take all the residual waste we need, plus all the rubbish from all the new homes over the next 30 years."

The sheer power of the £165 million rubbish burning facility, which will raze 200,000 tonnes of waste a year, is reflected in the monstrous size of the development, with a 75-metre high exhaust stack towering in the skyline in recent months.

The plant, known as Envirecover, will generate electricity to connect to the National Grid, effectively powering up 20,000 households.

Once open it will be operated by a firm called West Mercia Waste until at least 2023 under a contract, taking in waste from properties in both Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Last year we revealed how the public cost to dealing with waste in Worcestershire between now and 2042 will be £1.6 billion with the plant in place.

But bosses at County Hall say experts put that bill at £2.1 billion if Envirecover did not go ahead, which led to it getting cross-party political support despite a concerted campaign from villagers.

The existing landfill in Worcestershire, based at Hill & Moor in Pershore, is due to fill up as soon as 2024, which led to the hunt for an alternative.