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Clinical waste dumped in lay-by

Written by on 21/09/2021

An investigation has been launched after clinical waste was dumped on a roadside near Kendal almost two years after an identical fly-tipping incident at the same location.

A colleague from South Lakeland District Council’s (SLDC) Street Scene crew discovered three black bin bags abandoned in a lay-by on the A6 Shap Road, north of Kendal near Selside, while emptying a litter bin.

Locality Officers from SLDC attended and discovered the bags contained 11 large tubs used for the disposal of clinical waste, typically syringes contaminated with medicinal products, pharmaceuticals and surgical waste. All ‘sharps’ and related waste is classed as ‘hazardous waste’ in official government guidance.

The bags were spotted on Thursday morning (16 September) and the incident is remarkably similar to a previous incident in November 2019 when several black bin bags containing eight large ‘sharps’ tubs were dumped in the same lay-by on Shap Road. In both instances any identifying information had been scratched off.

The council is now appealing for any information that could help them identify who is responsible for the fly-tipping. Despite a thorough investigation into the November 2019 incident, the offender remains unidentified.

SLDC Locality Officer John Barwise said: “This is the second such incident involving clinical waste containers at the same location in the past two years. It’s almost 99 per cent certain they have come from the same place.

“The waste, although contained securely in the sharps tubs, is classed as hazardous and is potentially very dangerous should the containers be tampered with. The boxes have now been removed from the location into secure storage at our Canal Head depot in Kendal awaiting collection by a specialist contractor.”

Mr Barwise said it was “highly unusual” for sharps containers to be fly-tipped and that healthcare premises were very responsible with disposal of their clinical waste as they recognised the dangers.

He added: “The labels on the tubs appear to have been scratched off to remove identifying marks, which suggests whoever dumped these containers has done this quite deliberately.

“To dump this sort of waste in a public place is highly irresponsible, illegal and potentially dangerous. We would ask that anyone who may have seen anything suspicious around the lay-by or has any information about where these containers have come from to please contact us.’’

Clinical waste from commercial premises is normally collected and disposed of, usually by incineration, by a registered clinical waste carrier.

The maximum penalty for fly-tipping that can be imposed by the courts is a £50,000 fine and up to five years in prison for the most serious offences.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact SLDC’s Locality Team on 01539 733333 or email: locality@southlakeland.gov.uk