Newhaven medical waste plant: Plans to be put before councillors

The site of the proposed gasification plant in Newhaven Port
The site of the proposed gasification plant in Newhaven Port

Proposals to bring a ‘safe emissions’ waste plant to Newhaven are to be decided by county council planners next week.

At a meeting on Wednesday (January 16), East Sussex County Council’s planning committee is to consider an application to install an energy conversion plant at the East Quay in Newhaven Port.

If approved, the site would be used to dispose of up to 4,380 tonnes of non-hazardous medical and clinical waste while creating electricity to feed into the grid.

The committee is recommended to approve the application, with a planning officers’ report saying the plant would have ‘no significant adverse effects’ on air quality.

The report said: “The plant would provide both electrical energy (used on site and exported to the National Grid) and thermal energy (available for use in future developments in the locality).

“The plant would be fully contained within the building and would have no significant adverse effects regarding noise and air quality (including odour), or visual effects.

“There are no other material considerations and the decision should be taken in accordance with the development plan.”

In its application, developer Clean Thermodynamic Energy Conversion (CTEC) Limited says the proposed plant would run on a process known as gasification.

According to a statement submitted as part of the application, the process involves heating the waste in a low air environment to create a synthetic gas (Syngas), which can be burnt to create electricity and hot water.

The company’s website claims this process produces ‘completely safe emissions to the atmosphere’  which are ‘cleaner than European standard limits.’

Details of the plant’s emissions controls are subject to an environmental permit, which was granted to the developer by Lewes District Council in June last year.

However the proposals have proven to be controversial among Sussex residents, with planners receiving 92 private objections to the proposals.

According to a report by planning officers, the objectors raised a range of concerns including the potential effects on air quality and tourism as well as the wildlife in the Tide Mills area.

Some of these concerns were also raised in representations from groups such as Seaford Town Council and the South Downs National Park Authority.

Other objectors raised concerns about the gasification process, saying little is known about its large scale use.

The report also says some of the objections incorrectly included references to hazardous waste and body parts being burnt on, which planning officers say will not take place.

More details of the scheme can be found searching for planning reference LW/815/CM on the East Sussex County Council planning website.