Fresh allegations of illegally stored clinical waste at 15 more sites

Fresh allegations of illegally stored clinical waste at 15 more sites have been made by Labour.

The claims come after the body parts scandal, where amputated limbs were among 350 tonnes of clinical waste stockpiled instead of incinerated in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

A criminal investigation has been launched into former contractor Healthcare Environment Services (HES) over the dump and the company has been stripped of its contracts.

But further dumps appear to have been revealed at more than a dozen more sites in Yorkshire, indicating a continuing threat to public safety, shadow health minister Jon Ashworth told the Commons.

Jon Ashworth
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth (PA/ Peter Byrne)

The Labour MP said: “He has tried to reassure us again today there are no public health implications of the measures put in place since HES lost the different contracts.

“Can he therefore explain to us his views on the various allegations currently circulating on social media of photos and video suggesting… up to 15 different sites across Yorkshire are storing waste illegally?

“Has he checked each and every one of these allegations?”

Mr Ashworth listed claims including hazardous waste in Dewsbury being stored in shipping containers, hospital staff in Leeds shifting waste in inappropriate overalls, and waste not being picked up from a health centre in Keighley.

Health Minister Steve Barclay said the new contractor, Mitie, had things under control and there was no risk to public safety.

He said: “I haven’t checked every single Tweet he has looked at, but the fact is of the 17 sites, three have had the stocks of waste on their sites cleared, 12 are due to be cleared by the end of the week, with two remaining, as Mitie mobilises from about 80% of service delivery to 100% in the coming weeks.”

Mr Barclay also defended his previous statement about there being enough incinerator capacity, which he said had been proven correct since Mitie had found capacity to incinerate 1,000 tonnes of clinical waste.

He said: “The analysis shows there is sufficient incinerator capacity for clinical waste and the statement made to the House was therefore correct.

“The issue is whether HES was willing to pay for that capacity – but the fact Mitie has now secured 1,000 tonnes demonstrates it is available.

“There is no risk to public safety by the action taken by the Trusts.”