The company contracted to solve Scotland’s clinical waste crisis is facing opposition to its plans for a new treatment plant. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman admitted last week that toxic NHS material, including bodily fluids, was being transported 250 miles to Wrexham, Wales, for disposal.
She said that the arrangement had been put in place by contractor Tradebe as a stop-gap while awaiting the opening of a facility in Bellshill, Lanarkshire.
But the Sunday Mail has learned at least two objections to a planning application for the new plant were lodged by prominent politicians on Friday.
Gaffney, who is also a councillor, said: “There are real concerns around smells, smoke and traffic, which could have an impact on my constituents in the surrounding areas. I have therefore asked that the decision on whether the development goes ahead be taken by the planning committee.”
Tradebe was brought in by NHS Scotland after the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) last year.
HES lost multi-million-pound contracts after being found to have stockpiled waste at its incineration plant in Shotts – 12 miles from Bellshill – which is now lying unused.
Lennon, who is Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “Hundreds of bags of medical waste, including body parts, are still piled high in Lanarkshire at what was supposed to be a state-of-the-art waste facility.
“Now it’s emerged yet another Lanarkshire-based clinical waste treatment plant is being proposed, this time in Bellshill.
“Residents in Lanarkshire need to know that these facilities are being properly regulated and that no chances are being taken with human health or the environment.
“The traffic impact of transporting every single piece of NHS Scotland clinical waste to one site in Bellshill is considerable.
“The public must have confidence in these proposals and I object to this planning application being rushed through when so many questions hang over the handling of clinical waste in Scotland.”
Bellshill resident Alison Clark-Dick said she was “really worried” about the proposals.
She added: “There are transport issues and I also want to know about air quality – what exactly are we going to be breathing in from this plant?”
Freeman has confirmed that all NHS “yellow bag” waste – which contains sharps materials such as syringes – is being sent to Tradebe’s plant in Wrexham permanently.
“Orange bag” materials – which include items contaminated with bodily fluids – will be sent to Wales until the Bellshill plant is opened.
The cost of disposing of NHS waste has doubled since HES was dropped.
A North Lanarkshire Council spokesman said: “We’ve received a planning application and it’s being considered.”
Tradebe wants to change the use of an existing building in an industrial estate to create a treatment plant. A planning application has been lodged by subcontractor Danobe Securities Ltd.
Spanish-based Tradebe didn’t respond to requests for comment.