LETTER: The effect could be devastating

I write to object in the strongest possible terms to the application by a company called Medipower for an environmental permit from Lewes District Council to operate a medical waste incinerator within Newhaven Harbour.

The Environmental Impact Assessment within the proposal documents states that this medical waste incinerator would operate seven days a week and would expect a single non-hazardous medical waste delivery and up to 10 hazardous medical waste deliveries each day.

Given the traffic gridlock within Newhaven and the acknowledged air quality issues that already breach regulation levels this additional traffic within the town would be an issue in itself.

Then there is the medical waste, the bulk of which would appear to be expected to be hazardous. Apart from the issue of this hazardous medical waste being transported through our already congested streets there is the possible pollution issue when it is incinerated.

Even with modern exhaust washing facilities fitted to the exhaust chimney there can be no knowing what exhaust gases might be emitted. There is reliable evidence that the exhaust gases from incinerating hazardous medical waste can be toxic. Given the prevailing south westerly winds any airborne pollution would be blown across Tide Mills and into Seaford.

Also, what then happens to the contaminated water that resulted from the exhaust washing process? How would that be treated or disposed of? Should there be any leakage/spillage what might happen if this contaminated water entered the local ground water? The effect on the local area could be devastating.

Finally there is the ash residue after incineration which may still be hazardous if the incineration process is not complete.

This ash residue would need to be removed from site by further road transport, again transported through our already congested and polluted streets and where would that possible toxic ash residue be finally disposed of?

Such a medical waste incinerator is in no way harbour related and should not be sited within Newhaven Harbour or indeed within Newhaven or the surrounding residential area.

There are many projects ongoing at this time to improve and regenerate Newhaven.

The new hotel complex on the Newhaven Harbour East Quay which Lewes District Council passed the plans for only the other week and the recent announcement of a multi-million pound facelift for the town centre to name just two.

A facility such as a medical waste incinerator which would handle hazardous medical waste sends the wrong message about Newhaven and its future development.

Newhaven already has one incinerator and the scrap metal mountain.

Apart from the adverse traffic problems and the air pollution created by that traffic a further incinerator would do nothing for the air quality in Newhaven and the surrounding area.

Such a facility as a medical waste incinerator would also send the wrong message about Newhaven in that it would make Newhaven appear to be the dumping ground/dustbin for East Sussex in that anything that any other town does not want or will not accept can be dumped in Newhaven.

I object in the strongest possible terms to this application for an environmental permit for Medipower. It must not be granted.

Geoff King

Marine Drive, Seaford