The consultation is linked to new guidance designed to help operators understand and meet their compliance obligations and ensure that waste is managed safely for he environment and human health.

Sites affected include installations with Pollution Prevention and Control permits and facilities with Waste Management Licences authorised to store, treat and transfer healthcare waste.

Hospitals, dentists, care homes and veterinary practices will have to make sure they rigorously segregate their waste before it is collected and confirm this through audit.

Over time the rules will extend from specialised setting to sites that deal with healthcare waste as part of mixed waste, for example, waste transfer stations.

Shona McConnell, Sepa senior compliance manager, said feedback from the sector is essential to ensure the guidance is fit-for-purpose.

She said: “Sustainable healthcare waste management is vital to protect communities, workers and our environment. But we need to understand if those in the industry have concerns about our approach, or suggestions for how to go further.”

The consultation closes at the end of April. The intention is for all existing authorisations to reflect relevant appropriate measures by the summer of 2025

England’s Environment Agency consulted on healthcare waste storage in the wake of the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services. The company had become embroiled in a stockpiling scandal involving hundreds of tonnes of clinical waste including body parts.