Schools urged to take advice on asbestos

Schools urged to take advice on asbestos

Michael Carmody, operations director at Clarke’s Environmental, is urging headteachers concerned about asbestos in their schools to seek specialist help.

His advice comes in the wake of a BBC report – compiled using the Freedom of Information Act – that revealed that councils in England have paid out at least £10m in compensation to people who developed illnesses because of asbestos in school buildings.

Figures obtained by BBC Yorkshire show that over the last 10 years 32 councils have settled claims from former teachers, school staff or pupils. Two Yorkshire local authorities – Leeds and Bradford – are in the top 10 of councils who have paid out the most for asbestos claims.

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Asbestos in Schools group, has called the situation “a ticking time bomb”. She says that few teachers and parents know that there is asbestos in schools and information should be made available to them. Of those who responded to the BBC’s request for information, 13 councils said they held no information about schools in their areas containing asbestos.

Michael commented: “The BBC report reveals that there is no coordinated approach to monitoring asbestos in English schools. It may well be the tip of the iceberg, as academic schools were not covered by the research.

“We know from our own work in schools that parents and teachers are understandably concerned about asbestos. At Clarke’s Environmental we work closely with schools to ensure that teachers, parents and pupils are reassured about the removal of any hazardous materials.

“For peace of mind I would urge schools to contact us and we will visit the premises and provide a free assessment of any potential asbestos risk.”

The government is investing £23billion to improve school buildings, and published a paper in 2015 advising on the management of asbestos in schools.

Michael Carmody can be contacted by email or by phone 01609 781016


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