A plant in North Lanarkshire which processes medical waste has been hit by a serious fire.
Dark clouds of smoke billowed from the industrial unit in Mossbell Road, Bellshill, on Friday morning and thick fumes were visible for miles.
No casualties have been reported at the site run by Tradebe Healthcare and people have been warned to avoid the area and keep doors and windows closed.
Tradebe confirmed a fire broke out inside its facility at around 8am but said “it is too early to speculate as to the cause”.
The purpose-built site opened in December 2019 and can treat up to 80 tonnes of medical waste per day using “state of the art technology”, the firm has said.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was called to the scene shortly after 8am and firefighters are currently using nine fire engines and two aerial rescue pumps to tackle the “well-developed” blaze.
Spanish-owned Tradebe Healthcare runs the £10 million per year contract to remove waste from hospitals, pharmacies, GP surgeries and dental practices across Scotland.
It picked up the 10-year contract after the collapse of Healthcare Environmental Services, which ceased trading in December 2018 after it became embroiled in a clinical waste pile-up controversy with the NHS.
Gordon Beattie, director of national procurement at NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), said: “NSS is aware of the fire at a facility operated by our clinical waste partner Tradebe.
“Tradebe have kept us fully informed and we are working in partnership to ensure that their alternative arrangements are in place to protect service.”
A fire service spokeswoman said: “We were alerted at 8.11am on Friday to reports of a fire affecting an industrial unit at Mossbell Road, Bellshill.
“Operations Control mobilised nine fire appliances, two aerial rescue appliances and specialist resources, and firefighters are continuing to tackle the well-developed fire.
“As there is a large amount of smoke, people in area are advised to keep windows and doors closed.
“Drivers and pedestrians are also advised to avoid the area as roads around the scene remain closed and to allow access for emergency service vehicles.
“There are no reported casualties at this time.”
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency confirmed its staff were on site to support emergency services.
A Tradebe spokeswoman said: “An incident occurred today at approximately 8am on the Tradebe site at Bellshill when a fire broke out inside our facility.
“The fire brigade are in attendance and are working to bring the fire under control.
“All Tradebe colleagues were safely evacuated and everyone is accounted for.
“At this stage we are collating all the available information on the incident and it is too early to speculate as to the cause.”