Construction work on a controversial incinerator in Cardiff is set to start within weeks.
Waste management firm Viridor yesterday announced it had signed a contract with waste engineering specialists CNIM and construction firm Lagan to build the facility in Splott.
The £185m plant, set to be operational by 2014, will treat 350,000 tonnes of waste and aims to provide enough electricity for 50,000 homes in the city.
But campaigners fighting the scheme say they will continue to oppose the plans by taking their fight to the Welsh Assembly next month.
Edmund Schluessel, secretary of Cardiff Against The Incinerator, said: “Incineration is the wrong choice for the environment, the wrong choice for South Wales – and the wrong choice for business.”
Viridor is hoping to secure the contract for Prosiect Gwyrdd (Green Project) – a partnership project to deal with non-recyclable waste processed by councils in Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouth and the Vale of Glamorgan.
The 25-year deal would cover the treatment of around 180,000 tonnes of residual waste a year and would be worth around £1.1bn.
Viridor is one of the companies left in the procurement process and it already has planning permission and a licence to build the incinerator at Trident Park, on Ocean Way, Splott.
The company expects ground work preparation to begin within the next few weeks, with the main construction due to begin in the summer.
It said more than 300 building jobs would be created during the plant‘s construction, and that the incinerator would make a considerable contribution towards meeting challenging targets to avoid waste going into landfill.
Howard Ellard, Viridor’s business development director, said: “We are pleased to be taking this important project to the construction phase.
“By 2014 Trident Park EfW will help local authorities and businesses to transform their residual waste into much-needed renewable energy.”
However, Cardiff Against The Incinerator, which has raised concerns over the impact the facility will have on nearby residents, has vowed to continue to fight the plans.
Edmund Schluessel said: “This isn’t the end of the road.
“I’m very surprised that Viridor are going ahead with the construction when they haven’t even secured the supply of waste to make it profitable.
“With waste recycling going up, there is no way that Viridor is going to sustain itself. The simple fact is that they don’t have a secure position.”
Mr Schluessel, a 33-year-old PHD student at Cardiff University living in Cathays, said the campaign group plans to make its case before the Assembly in May.