Asbestos in Worcestershire schools

Asbestos in Worcestershire schools

Questions are being asked about asbestos in Worcestershire schools. Councillor Peter McDonald, leader of the County Council’s Labour group, said he had researched and found 140 council-maintained schools in the area contained asbestos. 

He said “Asbestos in our schools is a ticking time bomb and needs defusing now before any more teachers die of asbestos related illnesses and their children are no longer put at risk.”

He called upon the County Council to act by putting together a plan to remove asbestos from schools as soon as possible.

He said he is also concerned about the state of asbestos in academies, which do not come under council control but are directly responsible for safety in their own schools, having to pay for asbestos removal or other measures themselves. He said:

“Schools are very different places from offices, because children can be careless and buildings can easily be damaged allowing asbestos fibres into the air.” He is also concerned about a lack of asbestos warning stickers on relevant walls, which are needed as a warning to anyone disturbing those walls.

A Medical Research Council report shows that, even when a school building containing asbestos is in a good state of repair, asbestos fibre levels can be between 5 and 500 times those found outdoors.

He has called upon the County Council to start putting together a plan to remove asbestos from schools as soon as possible.

However, although the Council spokesperson says that they are in the middle of a programme to remove asbestos from schools gradually, this is typically when there is refurbishment, and the speed of this replacement will not be enough to prevent more staff and children, who are particularly vulnerable to asbestos fibres, from being at risk of asbestos related diseases in future.