Thankfully Newhaven’s incinerator is not a landfill site

Do you remember the former landfill site at Beddingham? Do you remember the dust that swirled around the Ouse Valley and beyond when the wind was only a bit stronger than a mild one? Strong winds at the coast at Newhaven are quite frequent and regularly blow towards Lewes.

Do you remember gulls screeching and circling and fighting over any carrion that had been deposited in the landfill site?

Have you read Norman Baker’s leaflet in which he prides himself in saying ‘no’ to the incinerator? This is an item in the election leaflet that someone put through my letter box.

As most people know the incinerator has two tall chimney stacks that rise above the transparent dome that envelops the working part of the plant. Two large heat exchangers are enclosed within it. The exhaust emitted from the stacks is nearly all carbon dioxide and usually cannot be distinguished from the sky above. Atmospheric conditions can turn the exhaust white and that is nearly all steam like the steam you get from your kettle. Colourless toxic emissions such as nitrous oxide are rigorously monitored and are regularly checked by HM Inspectorate.

The air inside the dome is maintained at a slightly lower pressure than the outside atmosphere so that the only emission is up the stack. I could eat my lunch on the working floor, although I would prefer one of the tasty meals that are served in their dining room. This leads on to a balcony high above the ground that gives a superb view of the harbour and Channel.

The plant can generate 19 MW of which 16 MW are required for combustion of waste. The excess is fed back to the National Grid. Administrators call the plant a Waste Energy Generator.

Alan Grindley

MA Cantab. CEng

Ringmer