Dunbar ERF - NHS Scotland Healthcare waste contract

This is a communication from VIRIDOR/NHS Scotland/SEPA which local Community Councils requested following a meeting on Tuesday, 7th May 2019.

East Lammermuir Community Council has expressed its concern that this arrangement has gone ahead prior to any notice or announcement to local communities.

It has been assured by Viridor and NHS Scotland that this will not increase or change the emissions from the plant and that it’s a temporary measure, not lasting beyond six months.

“Viridor was approached by NHS Scotland to assist it in the treatment of healthcare waste from Scottish health boards at the Dunbar Energy Recovery Facility (ERF). This follows the withdrawal of services to NHS Scotland which were previously supplied by Healthcare Environmental Services Ltd.

Viridor called a special meeting with its Dunbar Community Liaison Group (CLG) on 7th May 2019, which was attended by a representative of the NHS Scotland Contingency Team.
Discussions with SEPA and the Scottish Government have been undertaken and all parties are aware that Viridor has not previously received this type of waste (and had no plans to do so) but requested Viridor’s assistance with a project of national importance. Viridor has been asked to assist NHS Scotland as a short-term measure while its incoming contractor mobilises its services.

The type of waste the Dunbar ERF will receive from NHS Scotland would typically include: dressings, swabs, used PPE (personal protective equipment), wipes, nappies and incontinence pads.

This waste stream specifically excludes: sharps (needles and other sharp instruments), anatomical waste, laboratory wastes and other specialist wastes such as hazardous pharmaceuticals and radioactive waste. (These components are segregated at source and separate arrangements are in place for their disposal in the UK).

All NHS Scotland waste which is consigned to Dunbar will be delivered by contractors working on behalf of NHS Scotland and will have been assessed at a transfer station, giving all in the waste management chain confidence that the waste is suitable for disposal via Dunbar ERF.

Viridor staff have been briefed on the contract, which will have no impact on Dunbar ERF site operations the, overall tonnage received by the plant, vehicle movements into the facility or the emissions from the process.

Dunbar ERF is a sophisticated energy recovery facility and is designed to offer a safe and efficient treatment of non-recyclable waste as part of a process to create electricity. The healthcare waste Dunbar will receive offers no additional challenges.

A NHS Scotland spokesperson said the contingency plans were first introduced last year when Healthcare Environmental Services was no longer able to provide waste collection services to NHS Boards across Scotland. The contingency plans are in place to ensure that there is no adverse impact on NHS Scotland services and that public health is protected.
Contingency arrangements remain in place, with transition to the newly appointed contractor commencing later this year. These arrangements are in line with regulatory standards and SEPA continue to audit clinical waste management arrangements from NHS Boards.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency says it is continuing to work with the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland, National Services Scotland and health boards on contingency arrangements for the storage and disposal of clinical waste.

A SEPA spokesperson said this includes the processing of limited quantities of non-anatomical material at identified licensed energy recovery facilities capable of meeting requirements for operational performance and compliance.

All agreed contingency measures ensure that the environment and human health are appropriately protected. SEPA is continuing to monitor the operation of these arrangements and to date our inspections have not identified any risk to human health or the environment.”

For further information, contact:

Lisa Templeton
Media and Campaigns Manager I Viridor
01392 443098