CAMPAIGNERS are protesting at the first firing up of the Javelin Park incinerator this morning.

The group, which includes members of Extinction Rebellion Stroud, are holding a slow march along the B4008 between the junction 12 of the motorway and the entrance to the incinerator.

An hour ago they blocked the main road that leads to the M5.

They then slowly walked around the roundabout, holding traffic off as it tried to squeeze through.

Chanting 'What do we want? Climate justice', they then made their way from the M5 junction to the incinerator and blocked the entrance to the site.

Police are at the scene.

Proceedings in the High Court in Bristol opened on Friday against Gloucestershire County Council, to address concerns over the way in which the contract for the £633m incinerator was handled.

Community R4C brought the case to court, alleging the contract for the Javelin Park facility was unlawfully awarded to consortium Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB).

Despite that challenge, GCC and the operator UBB plan to go ahead with firing up the incinerator today.

Katerina Hasapopoulos, for XR Stroud, said: "Local residents have been warned to expect bad smells over the coming weeks but already this monster is stinking.

"It is insane when we are doing so much to recycle; it is insane when we have just declared a climate emergency and it is wicked when the public health risks are so high."

A spokesman for XR Stroud said: "This initial firing will be entirely diesel-fuelled, releasing high levels of CO2 and particulates over surrounding areas.

"This stage requires burning without filters so that the highest temperatures can be reached to fire the kiln linings

"And DEFRA has admitted that ‘there is no commercially viable’ equipment to monitor emission of ultrafine particulates, which can not only pass through all available filters but directly from the lungs into the bloodstream."

But GCC has said of the incinerator: “Javelin Park will effectively dispose of the county's household waste that can't be reduced, reused or recycled- reducing carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes a year and saving taxpayers 100 million pounds over the next 25 years."

With regards to the court case, a spokesperson for GCC said: “We carried out a thorough and compliant process when appointing and negotiating with UBB and as a result we cannot let the claims made against us go unchallenged.

"We are confident the legal process will conclude the claim is groundless.

“This hearing is a case and cost management conference.”

Video by Leigh Boobyer.