A ‘pioneering’ engineering company from Newhaven has hit back at critics, saying it is proud of its plans to build the world’s first-of-its-kind combustion plant turning medical waste, including human body parts, into energy.
CTEC has applied for an environmental permit from Lewes District Council for the project, MediPower.
The plan is to build an advanced gasification system, similar to an incinerator, at Newhaven Port’s East Quay to dispose of 12 tonnes of non-hazardous medical waste a day.
The energy created during the combustion process will be used to power 1,250 homes with electricity and hot water every hour.
Michael Burns, engineer and owner of CTEC, said: “At CTEC we love Newhaven and Seaford, it’s our home. We all want success for the town.
“Our manufacturing and processing plant will employ 58 people from the area.”
According to the application form, the medical waste will partly consist of ‘body parts and organs including blood bags’.
However, the father of four from Seaford insists the bulk of the waste will be hospital gloves and paper towels, with only 0.05 per cent of the waste containing human tissue.
In response to the media coverage which has focused on ‘body parts’, the engineer said: “I think it is a poor show and cheap sensationalist coverage, fake news.
“What they should focus on is how great it is to have a technology company like CTEC Energy in Newhaven.”
MediPower plans to save the NHS money by disposing of this waste for less than current arrangements, as well as recycling what would otherwise be placed in landfill sites.
The application has sparked anger in the town with 220 objections lodged. Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, wrote: “Constituents who have written to me about the scheme are rightly worried that exhaust gases from incineration medical waste might be both toxic and carcinogenic, and I urge the local authority to take these concerns seriously.”
Mr Burns was clear in his response to objections: “I am a father of five, and a grandfather of four. There is no way I am going to put my family at risk.
“We want Seaford and Newhaven to dispose of our waste responsibly. Newhaven is the new Silicon Valley, with pioneering new technologies solving world problems.”
CTEC already operates a prototype plastic incinerator, and works with international companies to develop the technology.