Hundreds of buildings in use across Shropshire contain asbestos, new figures released by councils revealed today…. Overall there are 391 sites across Shropshire with asbestos, of which around 175 are schools, 13 libraries, 10 fire stations, and about 10 leisure facilities including swimming pools…. The building that contains the most traces of asbestos is The Shirehall in Shrewsbury, where 398 samples were found during an inspection. This is followed by the Grove School in Market Drayton with 270 samples and Idsall School in Shifnal with 257.
North West Evening Mail: Shocking new figures reveal more people are dying of asbestos-related lung cancer in Barrow than anywhere else in England and Wales. “So although the numbers due to shipyard causes are dropping because of the asbestos ban in 1999, and even before that the shipyard realised and started taking regulation seriously, it’s not going away. “And we’re seeing an increasing number of school teachers die from asbestos cancer because over half our schools have got asbestos in. … “So we really need some action to try and address this problem as not being historical – it’s changing, but it’s still with us.”an increasing number of school teachers
“The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health believes that the time has come to put in place regulations requiring the safe, phased and planned removal of all the asbestos that still remains in place across Britain. …..
the dutyholder must develop and implement a plan for the removal of all asbestos which ensures that removal is completed as soon as is reasonably practical but certainly no later than 2035. In the case of public buildings and educational establishments, such as schools, this should be done by 2028.”
Rossendale Free Press: More than two-thirds of all schools in Rossendale contain asbestos… . Of the 41 state-run primary and secondary schools in the borough, 29 contain some asbestos materials. Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, was shocked by the figure. He said: “I can’t believe we are allowing asbestos to continue where children are. “At some point it will have to be removed and it should be done sooner rather than later.” Rossendale schools containing asbestos: Holy Trinity Stacksteads CE Bacup, Newchurch St Nicholas CE Rawtenstall, Newchurch St Peter’s RC Primary School Rawtenstall, Northern Primary School Bacup, Our Lady & St Anselm’s RC Whitworth, Rawtenstall St Mary’s CE Primary School Rawtenstall, St Bartholomew’s CE Primary Whitworth, St Paul’s Constable Lee CE Rawtenstall, Staghills Nursery Newchurch Newchurch, Stonefold St John’s CE Primary Haslingden, Stubbins Primary School Ramsbottom, Thorn Primary School Bacup, Tonacliffe Primary School Whitworth, Tor View Community Haslingden, Tor View Community (Ewood) Haslingden, Water Primary School Water, Whitworth Community High Whitworth, All Saints Catholic Language Rawtenstall, St Joseph’s RC Primary School Bacup, St Mary’s RC Primary School Bacup, Balladen Community Primary Rawtenstall, Britannia Community Primary Bacup, Broadway Primary School Haslingden, Crawshawbooth Primary School Crawshawbooth, Fearns Community Sports Bacup, Haslingden High School Haslingden, Haslingden Primary School Haslingden, Helmshore Primary School Helmshore, Hillside Nursery School Haslingden,
Rossendale schools without asbestos are listed in the article.
Mirror: ‘Map of shame’ shows 86 per cent of school buildings contain asbestos which is a ticking time bomb say campaigners…. The ‘map of shame’ has been drawn up by leading law firm Stephensons and based on Freedom of Information requests providing figures showing that 86% of school buildings contain asbestos. The map is at this link
Express: More than seven million schoolchildren are learning in asbestos-riddled classrooms, which could significantly increase their chances of developing cancer or respiratory problems in later life. New research has revealed that the home counties are the most deadly areas in the country outside London, with more than 200,000 youngsters at risk in Kent alone. In the capital a heart-stopping 1.2m children attend asbestos-riddled schools, according to figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request (FOI). However, despite the clear health dangers schools have no obligation to tell parents whether or not there is asbestos present on the premises. Kate Sweeney from leading law firm Stephensons said: “Many people still think that asbestos is only a threat to factory or trade workers and this simply isn’t the case. The deadly material has been used in all types of buildings since the 1950s and is still present in the majority of schools in the UK due to ageing stock. “These figures are very concerning and the fact that parents have no right to be notified, even more so. “Asbestos can be easily disturbed with a simple pinprick of the wall when hanging up children’s artwork and have a long term effect on the health of anyone exposed. “These findings make a clear case for parents to have better access to information on the measures being taken by local education authorities and schools to protect their children.”….
At the link is a map of England showing the number of children in each County in England at risk in their schools of asbestos exposure
European Committees 24 June: Asbestos related deaths predicted to double those of road deaths. .. the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) heard .. testimony from some of Europe’s top experts on asbestos… placing the total number of estimated deaths in Europe at 47,000 per year, 50% higher than previously thought and double those related to road accidents. Children and teachers in schools, DIY enthusiasts and maintenance workers are …. increasingly at risk from asbestos infested buildings across Europe…. Asbestos was used extensively in buildings erected between 1961 and 1990, with millions of tonnes still present in buildings, not only putting building and maintenance workers at risk but potentially anybody present or occupying the property…. Over 80% of schools in one country alone, the United Kingdom, still contain asbestos… “Member States and the European Institutions need to take action now to head off this emerging public health crisis. National Action Plans need to be implemented and the European Commission should prioritize its response to this major risk to public health across all policy areas. We are talking about a lot more than traditionally exposed factory workers, now extending our concern to the children in our schools ………Mauro D’Attis, CoR rapporteur … strongly regretted the fact that asbestos removal is not high on the EU political agenda, emphasizing the lack of political will to deal with an issue that kills thousands of people annually. “We need a rigorous analysis of existing risks and an effective model for registering asbestos presence in buildings”
Asbestos: A double standard Retired teacher Penny Devaney gave her life to education, literally
SecEd 30 April: “Fire deaths, cycle deaths and school related asbestos deathsschool-related asbestos deaths – while the government acts on the first two, it is scandalously slow to tackle the third, says Kevin Courtney… Perhaps it is the delayed effect – death can occur decades after first exposure. But those 200 to 300 former pupils who die each year are stolen from their families, often with dependent children, and are robbed of many years of productive life and a happy retirement.”
Daily Mirror 3th April: “Retired teacher Penny Devaney gave her life to education, literally. Sometime during her 30 years at primary schools in Lancashire she was exposed to asbestos, which was commonly used in public buildings after the Second World War, and now she has terminal lung cancer… Penny…won an undisclosed six-figure settlement from Lancashire County Council... Ian Toft, an expert asbestos lawyer at her solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said: “Penny, like many other teachers, was not warned of the dangers of asbestos, despite the risks of exposure being known for decades.”
Legislation Watch:Asbestos and schools: the lessons learnt (Legislation Watch 9 Feb 2015); “If children are exposed to asbestos, they have a greater risk of developing mesothelioma than if exposed in later life. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of teachers developing mesothelioma within the last 10 years… Of the 153 schools visited (by HSE), 20 (13%) were issued with an Improvement Notice… 24 other schools were given “written advice” on improving their controls…. 46% of schools did not have a comprehensive system in place to provide information to those who might disturb asbestos-containing materials… only 39% of schools in England were aware of the DfE’s guidance on managing asbestos in schools…. The competency of surveyors is critical in identifying where asbestos is and in what condition. Yet only 31% of schools could show to the HSE they had checked the competency of the surveyors they used… In relation to Asbestos Management Plans only half of the schools recorded all the details that were required, 33% had no such plans.”
Comment: This article underlines the failure of a significant number of schools to safely manage their asbestos identified in the last round of HSE inspections. It also shows how essential it is to have a system of proactive inspections to identify those schools that are not managing their asbestos safely. However there is now no system in place as HSE are no longer is allowed to carry out these essential safety inspections.
It is extraordinary that at the end of the two year audit DfE cannot say either how many schools or buildings are in a good, satisfactory, poor or bad condition or how much it will cost to bring the whole estate up to a good condition. The Parliamentary questions confirm that the data is unclear and confusing so that it is almost impossible to have a true picture of what condition the school estate is in.
Asbestos was specifically excluded from the PDSP. As it can be one of the most expensive items in maintaining, refurbishing or demolishing a school, it means that any financial forecasts will be meaningless.
One must question whether it is intentional to mask the scale of the problem
An audit has never been undertaken to determine the extent, type and condition of asbestos in UK schools. In England the Government took the decision to specifically excluded asbestos from their two year audit of the condition of school buildings which was completed in February 2015. However in 2008 the Department for Education estimated that around 70% of schools contain asbestos, and they based their estimate on the age of the building and the floor area. Since then DfE have stated that more than 75% contain asbestos. That gives a misleading impression as a list has been collated by Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by individuals and the media to Local Authorities from 2009 to 2014 . The actual percentage is significantly greater at 86%.