WORK on a massive £165 million Worcestershire incinerator is progressing at a rapid pace - with the huge structure now firmly in place.

This image shows how the site in Hartlebury, which is due to start burning rubbish in March next year, is shaping up.

Construction workers have been toiling away and the sheer size of the waste-burning plant can be seen from miles around, with a huge red crane currently towering over it.

It will have an exhaust stack 75 metres above ground level, changing the landscape forever.

After years of indecision and fierce lobbying from anti-incineration campaigners Worcestershire County Council finally agreed to press ahead with the plant in 2014.

The facility will burn 200,000 tonnes of waste from across Worcestershire and Herefordshire, burning it to generate energy which will collect to the national grid.

Once open it will be operated by a firm called West Mercia Waste until at least 2023 under a contract, and be known as EnviRecover.

Councillor Anthony Blagg, the county council's deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: "The facility will have a significant impact, reducing the county's reliance on landfill and the associated landfill tax bill as well as producing sufficient electricity for 20,000 homes.

"We have made great steps to reduce waste and increase recycling, these remain key elements of our strategy in managing waste.

"We are very encouraged by the progress that has been achieved so far, but we need to keep this going and continue to look for ways to work with residents to reduce waste and increase recycling."

The cost of dealing with waste in Worcestershire between now and 2042 will be £1.6 billion with the plant in place, but the council has always maintained that without it the bill would top £2.1 billion.

That is largely because Worcestershire's landfill is forecast to be full by 2024, leading to the long drawn-out hunt for an alternative.

Of the £165 million loan for getting it off the ground, £125 million is being paid off by Worcestershire's taxpayers and the rest from Herefordshire householders.

By the spring of next year it will operate 24 hours a day with around 50 people working in the plant, 30 of whom will be there during the day.