HOSPITAL waste will be sent from Scotland to Wales as part of a new deal set to cost taxpayers £100 million over 10 years.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed “yellow bag” waste from hospitals, containing sharp materials such as syringes, will be sent 250 miles away to Wrexham in North Wales.

It follows the collapse of Lanarkshire-based Healthcare Environmental Services after it was embroiled in a waste stockpiling scandal.

Critics said the move exposed the SNP’s announcement of a “climate emergency” as a gimmick.

Scottish Tory MSP Graham Simpson said: “No sooner had Nicola Sturgeon announced a climate emergency than her government confirms plans to send clinical waste 250 miles away.

“That has an obvious negative impact on the environment, yet her SNP administration presses ahead with it anyway.

“It exposes the ‘climate emergency’ as a gimmick – it was clearly something thought up on the hoof which she will now live to regret.

“People will see this decision and wonder why Scotland under the SNP isn’t capable of disposing of its own medical waste.

“Instead of making unconvincing statements about saving the planet, the nationalists would be better finding ways to safely dispose of all our clinical waste here, in a way that helps the economy and protects the environment.”

HES, which entered liquidation last month, had removed waste from every hospital, GP surgery, dental practice and pharmacy in Scotland, as well as a number of NHS trusts in England.

But it stopped collections in early December after too much waste, including human body parts, built up at its sites.

It was reported to have amassed huge amounts of amputated limbs, infectious liquids, refuse linked to cancer treatment and hazardous materials.

Environmental regulators launched a criminal probe last year after sites in England were found to be in breach of permitted limits.

Earlier this month it emerged contractors were charging more than £460,000 per week to dispose of hazardous materials in Scotland following the demise of HES.

That is more than double the amount former HES boss Garry Pettigrew had claimed his company charged, saying the maximum annual bill was £11 million, which is around £211,500 per week.

However, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said the new deal with disposal firm Tradebe, set to start in August, is currently valued at £10 million per year for the next 10 years – totalling £100 million.

Responding to a question from Mr Simpson, the Health Secretary confirmed that all “yellow bag” waste will go to Wrexham permanently.

Meanwhile, “orange bag” waste – which includes items contaminated with bodily fluids – will also be sent to Wales until a new arrangement in Bellshill is up-and-running.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There is no bigger priority than tackling climate change, and the First Minister has made clear that we will take action to ensure Scotland continues to be recognised as a world leader in this area.

“The contract for national healthcare waste management was awarded by NHS National Services Scotland. As part of the procurement process all tenders were assessed and scored on their environmental impact.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at the SNP conference last month, and has since committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045.