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58% Of Schools Across Greater Manchester Contain Asbestos

Schools across the UK are riddled with asbestos
16 July 2019 | Updated 18 July 2019
 

A Freedom of Information Request has revealed that schools across the UK are riddled with asbestos with no plans to remove it.

The request was made by JMW Solicitors. It showed that 58% of schools in Greater Manchester may have asbestos on their premises. That's 380 schools of the 652 in the region that replied to the Freedom of Information Request (FoI).

The findings bring about concerns over the safety of pupils and staff in schools across Greater Manchester and also across the country if the outlook is similar in other metropolitan boroughs.

Abigail Morrison, Senior Associate Solicitor at JMW Solicitors, said: "Asbestos can lead to life-threatening illnesses, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer, among those who are exposed to it for prolonged periods of time. It also has wider implications about schools across the UK.

"Advice from the HSE is to manage asbestos-containing materials that are in ‘good condition and are unlikely to be damaged or disturbed’. However, the National Education Union (NEU) favours removal and it ‘does not agree that it is preferable to leave asbestos-containing materials in place and seek to manage them'.

"However, the NEU states that since 1980, at least 319 schoolteachers have died from mesothelioma, with 205 of those deaths occurring since 2001."

The substance was banned from use in construction in 1999, but was regularly utilised in buildings up to this date, with many system-built schools using structural columns that were fire-proofed with asbestos-containing materials.

Morrison concluded: “Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can have devastating impacts on the health and wellbeing of those affected. Although schools built after 2000 will not contain the substance, local authorities have a duty to carry out annual checks on those at risk.”

Asbestos gives off tiny fibres that can be breathed in and remain in the lungs for long periods after exposure, potentially leading to asbestos-related diseases.

Picture: Schools across the UK are riddled with asbestos with no plans to remove it.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 16 July 2019

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