Tyne & Wear

Body parts piled up in Benton as NHS waste contract removed

HES site at Benton
Image caption HES operated the clinical waste treatment and transfer station on North Tyneside Industrial Estate

Body parts and clinical waste have remained untreated on an industrial estate since the firm responsible for disposing of it ceased trading.

Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) stopped operating in December, after it was stripped of its NHS contracts.

The Environment Agency (EA) started a criminal investigation after the company breached storage limits.

HES previously said the amount of waste produced by the NHS outweighed the UK's incineration capabilities.

It stored 165 tonnes of waste at its site in Benton, North Tyneside, more than three times the permitted limit of 50 tonnes.

A former HES worker, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC the waste would be deteriorating.

He said: "In the refrigeration unit there is anatomical waste, which is classed as body parts.

"It will have been there for [at least] six weeks - under normal circumstances you would have tried to turn it round in a week."

Image caption Waste remains piled up in the outside yard, and in refrigeration units inside the warehouse

The EA said HES remained in breach of its environmental permits at its clinical waste treatment and transfer station at Chollerton Drive, Benton.

"We have taken a range of action against the company but it has repeatedly breached permits and continued to operate unlawfully," it said.

"As a result, in addition to our enforcement activity to clear the sites, we are undertaking a criminal investigation."

It added that it was continually monitoring the site to ensure it was not accessible to the public.

On Monday HES said it was planning legal action against the 17 NHS Trusts in Yorkshire which terminated its contracts.

Managing director Garry Pettigrew said the contracts had been terminated "without first discussing any performance issues" and that the company was given no opportunity to fulfil its obligations.

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