Newhaven medical waste plant: Proposals ‘another bullet in the back for already ailing town’

The existing industrial unit where the proposed medical waste plant would be based
The existing industrial unit where the proposed medical waste plant would be based

A proposed medical waste plant for Newhaven has been described as ‘another bullet in the back for an already ailing town’ by one objector.

Clean Thermodynamic Energy Conversion (CTEC) is seeking planning permission for the facility at an existing unit at the East Quay Industrial Estate from East Sussex County Council.

The plant, operating as MediPower, would process 12 tonnes of non-hazardous healthcare waste a day to generate electricity and potentially heat to other port-side users.

Previously CTEC told the Express the bulk of the waste would be items such as hospital gloves and paper towels, with only 0.05 per cent of waste containing human tissue.

Objectors have raised concerns about the effect on air quality due to the extra traffic, nearby residents, emissions on ecology, and the cumulative impact of this alongside other planned industrial developments.

Community Action Newhaven said: “CAN calls on East Sussex County Council to reject this licence application.

“We also have a wider ‘ask’ of the county council which is go a step further and to take a proper strategic look at where industry can and should go in our congested county.

“This should be based on a fair sharing out of industrial areas. Newhaven simply cannot continue to be the place where everything - from housing to industry - gets dumped.”

Public consultation on the application closes today (Thursday November 22).

One objector from Newhaven wrote: “This is obviously a highly beneficial proposal for someone, but yet another bullet in the back of an already ailing town. Terrible news indeed.”

Another said: “The proposal for a medical incinerator at Tide Mills is an insult to the beautiful heritage coastline of East Sussex.

“Tide Mills is a site of historic importance and many people visit from all over the country. It is home to rare wild life such as yellow thorn sea poppy and much more, this development would jeopardise many of the wildlife and the wellbeing of the local community.”

Existing air quality problems in the town and potential for these to be exacerbated by another industrial business was a common theme in the objections.

One objector said: “I see the build up of traffic from my window every day, I believe the persons on the planning committee should visit Newhaven during these times to realize what impact their decisions have on this already crippled town.”

Another Newhaven resident said: “It involves transportation by road of far too many vehicles in a road infrastructure that is already unable to cope with current traffic. Furthermore it is in an area of the port that is supposed to be used for marine related business. This proposal has nothing to do with marine activities.”

The application site is a unit within a larger building called Fisher Terminal. The building was erected as a cold store under permitted development rights for the port.

According to the application: “The proposal will allow the development of a novel technology that will bring lasting economic benefits to Newhaven and the county.

“The facility will make a modest yet significant contribution towards the recovery capacity gap identified in the Waste Local Plan.”

The project has previously secured £1.8m in growing places funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

At the time Mike Burns, managing director and chief technology officer at CTEC, said: “Waste management needs to be dragged out of the dark ages with new ultra clean technology. Our waste is a precious commodity; no longer will it be acceptable to incinerate waste without recycling or not using the thermal heat for heating houses.

“The UK is waking up to the missed opportunity of using our kitchen waste to heat our homes. Too many years have been wasted by sending it to countries like China or Norway to benefit. By using our own waste to heat our homes we will reduce the costs of heating for all and reduce the countries dependency of importing fossil fuels.”

The proposal if approved is expected to create 58 jobs.