THE UK Independence Party is planning to argue against plans for a massive rubbish-burning incinerator in Hartlebury - claiming the project is a waste of money.

Worcestershire County Council’s UKIP group has upped the ante ahead of a crunch vote by insisting it will call for the plant to be scrapped.

The stance will not result in the project falling apart, as the controlling Conservative group have 31 of the 57 seats at County Hall.

The incinerator, which will convert waste to energy, also has strong support from within the opposition Labour Party.

UKIP spokesman Michael Wrench, who is also the party’s candidate for the Wyre Forest, said: “Times are hard - necessary but painful cuts to public services have seen £5 million snatched from the fire service alone.

“Social services and bus services have been whittled down too.

“We are all suffering, so why is the county council hell bent on spending this vast sum without examining other more viable alternatives?

“We have this eccentric, old-fashioned attitude towards representative governance.

“We listen to the views of the public, we then look closely at the facts and figures and in this case the figures just do not add up.

“This is public money which is being splashed around on a vanity project with no environmental or financial benefits whatsoever.”

The incinerator has been in the preparation stages since 1998, when a 25-year contract was signed with West Mercia Waste to run it.

But it only secured planning permission and Government approval last year and in December, the cabinet finally agreed a £165 million loan to get it off the ground.

A vote will take place at full council tomorrow , and if accepted by a majority of politicians, construction will start in the spring with a view to opening in 2017.

It will have a capacity of 200,000 tones of waste and collect rubbish from Worcestershire and Herefordshire, burning it to generate electricity, which is then sent to the national grid.

West Mercia Waste will run it until 2023, and from that point it will be handed to councils in both counties to carry on operating.

The Conservative leadership has consistently backed the project, saying it is the best value-for-money option as landfill is forecast to be full by around 2024.

It also says other emerging ideas are far riskier as they are yet to be proven.

Councillor Anthony Blagg, the cabinet member for the environment, said: “It provides the best value for money option, will rely on proven technology, and offers long term stability.”