HC Deb 23 February 1989 vol 147 c798W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has estimated the cost to hospitals in England of ensuring that their incinerators meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act following the ending of Crown immunity later in the current year; and what major defects in hospital incinerators will need to be corrected.

Mr. Mellor

Regulations under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act which will bring large incinerators within the control of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will not affect most hospital incinerators. Controls on smaller incinerators, which will be introduced as soon as possible and from which it is not intended that the National Health service should have Crown immunity, will create the need for a major programe of upgrading and replacement. The main requirements are likely to be an increase in the height of chimneys, improved combustion and monitoring and sampling of emissions. If these improvements were made immediately we estimate the cost to the National Health Service would be in the region of £50 million, but it is anticipated that there will be a transitional period allowed for the replacement of existing installations. Many incinerators will therefore be upgraded or replaced at the end of their useful lives as part of the normal cycle of planned equipment renewal. Authorities will also be expected to review their waste disposal services taking account of the scope for rationalising and reducing the number of incinerator facilities and the contribution which the private sector can make to the disposal of "clinical waste".