Keith Taylor, Green MEP for East Sussex, has written to Lewes District Council to formally object to Medipower's planning application for a medical waste incinerator in Newhaven.
The senior Green politician had previously objected to the environmental permit application for the incinerator, which was subsequently granted.
In his objection, Mr Taylor reiterated his opposition to the proposals and highlighted concerns over the air pollution and biodiversity impacts of medical incineration.
Mr Taylor also questioned the need for more incineration. Although the Green MEP recognises the issue of medical waste is different from that of household waste, he cites evidence that just 0.3% of the medical waste currently incinerated actually needs to be burned. In fact:
- In general, 85% of the total medical waste stream in hospitals consists of the same mixture of discarded paper, plastic, glass, metal and food waste that is found in ordinary household waste
- Just the remaining 15% is defined as infectious and it is this waste that must be sterilised before disposal
- Just a small percentage of that infectious waste, 0.3% of the total medical waste stream in hospitals, can be disposed of only by incineration - as it is difficult to sterilise
Mr Taylor argues that to reduce the need for incineration better waste separation and sterilisation systems are needed at the waste source to ensure waste that can be recycled is, and waste is managed as part of an energy efficient and joined-up waste system.
Mr Taylor said:
"I will continue to stand with people across Newhaven in the fight to protect the town from these unnecessary and toxic plans. Residents have repeatedly told me they are dismayed their town is being treated as the region's toxic dumping ground."