Will new energy plant burn human body parts?

Artists impression of new energy recycling centre

Artists impression of new energy recycling centre

Concerns have been raised that a new ‘waste to energy’ recovery plant proposed for Chickenhall Lane could be burning human body parts – and even human foetuses.

The operators Clean Power already has already been granted planning permission by Hampshire County Council to build the plant in Eastleigh despite objections from Eastleigh Local Area Committee and the borough council’s environmental health department.

The government are promoting this kind of  waste recycling as a greener alternative to landfill disposal of rubbish and as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of energy production then fracking – the pyrolytic combustion process produces considerably fewer emissions than traditional furnace incinerators.

Clean Power have now applied for a permit from the Environment Agency to incinerate waste by pyrolysis, but there appears to be discrepencies between the list of potential waste sources applied for and the list supplied to Eastleigh News by Clean Power.

The submitted application lists types of waste that they wish to process and includes in the list human body parts and organs and wastes from ‘natal care’ – along with wastes from the “diagnoses, treatment and prevention of disease” in both humans and animals.

human waste

Eastleigh News has asked  Clean Power and the Environment Agency for a definition of ‘natal care waste’, specifically if this would include placenta and aborted or miscarried human foetuses.

In March this year, a Channel 4 Despatches programme revealed that a ‘waste to energy ‘ plant operated by a private contractor based at Ipswich Hospital burnt human foetuses (from another hospital) alongside other clinical waste to produce energy.

This shock report prompted the NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh to write to all NHS Trusts ordering then to stop the practice however it is not illegal (unless the foetus was over 24 weeks old) and it is a widespread practice elsewhere in the world.

In April there was a storm of controversy when it was alleged that a waste to energy plant in Oregon was burning ‘waste’ foetuses imported from Canada.

The company denied this and said they were only burning placenta and umbilical cords but this in turn was contradicted by the British Columbia Minsitry of health who said waste had included ‘foetal tissue’.

A spokesman for Clean Power initially told Eastleigh News that they would not be applying for wastes in these categories and sent us a draft copy of their permit application in which the categories that cover medical and clinical waste had been omitted but Eastleigh News has since obtained a copy of the submitted application form from Eastleigh Borough Council which clearly shows the application does include waste from natal care, human body parts and human organs.

Although the environment agency have not clarified the exact nature of ‘natal waste’  a spokesman told Eastleigh News:

 “We can confirm that we have received an application from the business, as the site is entitled to apply for these wastes in limited quantities.

We will assess the appropriateness of each waste type as part of the determination process. However we will be requiring further clarification of the exact wastes that the site wishes to accept.”

The Environment Agency has been holding a public consultation into the permit application which closed on June 30 although Eastleigh News understands they will still consider representations from residents.

You can comment on the application by emailing:


See also

Concerns over new waste plant 




  1 comment for “Will new energy plant burn human body parts?

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    July 3, 2014 at 1:56 am

    There seems to confusion over what types of waste sources have been applied for and neither Clean Power nor the Environment Agency have explained to me what is meant by ‘natal care waste’ nor can the EA say whether or not they would allow it.

    I don’t know how residents can comment on this application if we do not know what it is they propose to process at the facility.

    I have a good idea of what ‘Natal waste’ can include as 40 years ago I was a porter at the maternity unit at RHCH and it was the porters job to dispose of the stuff by taking it to the incinerator.

    Soiled nappies were terry at the time and were taken to the laundry but afterbirth, umbilical cords and the product of terminations or miscarriage were disposed of in the incinerator – which in turn fired the boiler and hospital heating system – nothing happening today is new.

    But I feel there is a world of difference between the NHS disposing of human tissue as an extension of the clinical process and a private contractor using it as fuel burning alongside rubbish and selling on the resulting by-product for profit.

    I have ethical objections to this – even if waste does not include foetuses and is just placenta or amputated limbs and I feel many other people will too – some may even have religious objections.

    Clean Power have said they do not want to burn this type of waste but then why have they got it on their application form?

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