The dangers of asbestos in schools has been raised in the media.
A BBC Freedom of Information request has shown that in the past 10 years, 32 councils have settled claims for asbestos disease from former teachers, school staff or pupils.
The National Union of Teachers also confirm that up to 300 people die each year because of exposure to asbestos whilst at school.
Corries Solicitors can confirm that the presence of asbestos in schools continues to put staff and pupils at risk.
Asbestos Facts & Figures
Figures suggest anywhere between 60 to 83% of school buildings still contain asbestos. In the last five years some local authorities have recorded 99 incidents where asbestos has been disturbed.
There is no uniform approach by councils to monitor asbestos in schools.
It has been estimated that more than £10 million has been paid out in compensation to victims.
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Asbestos in Schools Group confirmed:-
“This is a ticking timebomb because very few teachers and parents know that there is asbestos in schools. The very least we should do is make sure that this information is available to them”.
Howard Bonnett, Director and Solicitor at Corries Solicitors and head of their Asbestos Team commented:
“The presence and dangers of asbestos in schools has been known about for years. Successive governments have failed to really grasp this issue. it is rather hypocritical of the government to commit to spending hundreds of millions to revamp the House of Parliament and to move out when asbestos is removed from there but not to extend the same courtesy and care to our children
I would propose a three-part plan to deal with this issue head-on:
- That there is quicker resolution to claims brought by teachers, staff and pupils affected by asbestos disease;
- That local authorities identify and accept where staff and pupils are at risk and inform staff, pupils and parents and;
- The Government gives a firm and clear time and money commitment to get rid of asbestos from these buildings as soon as practically possible
People that have been exposed to asbestos at work will continue to suffer with asbestos disease for the next 25 years. If asbestos remains in schools then pupils who have just left school may be victims of asbestos disease in the future. I truly hope that this awful legacy does not go on to affect them. But words are meaningless if action is not taken”.
Contact Corries Asbestos Team on 0800 083 7839 for free confidential advice.