Extent Of Asbestos In Coventry Schools Revealed

New Figures Reveal Half Of Sites Contain Material

24.02.2014

More than half of schools in Coventry contain asbestos materials in buildings, according to new figures revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request.

The statistics obtained by the Coventry Telegraph revealed 50 of 96 schools in the city contain the substance, which can be dangerous to both adults and children if disturbed or not managed effectively.

It was revealed that 44 primary schools contained the deadly material, as well as six of the city’s eight special schools.

Talking to the newspaper, a Coventry City Council spokesperson said there were no current plans to remove the material from schools and said that each site was subject to an assessment to identify where it is and whether it poses any risk to pupils or staff.

The release of the figures has come around two years after an All-Party Parliamentary Group stated that asbestos is thought to be present in more than 75 per cent of schools in England and described the level of presence as “a national scandal”.

Expert Opinion
While we represent a huge number of victims and the families of those who have died as a result of exposure to asbestos in industrial environments, we are also being increasingly contacted by a disproportionate group of people, who are supposed to have very little asbestos exposure, such as teachers and hospital workers who believe they have come into contact with the material in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

"Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 includes the 'duty to manage asbestos' in non-domestic premises. The responsibility falls to the duty holder. In many cases, this is the person or organisation that has clear responsibility for the maintenance or repair of non-domestic premises.

"The issue of asbestos in schools has arguably never been more in the spotlight and, while authorities are correct that people do not face any risks if the material is undisturbed, we still feel action should be taken to remove the material and remove the risk of exposure completely. This is borne out by the stark fact that the number of mesothelioma deaths of school teachers and also teachers and lecturers in higher and further education increase year on year.

"The risks of exposure to asbestos are simply too great and comprehensive action must be taken to ensure both school staff and pupils are kept safe from exposure."
Satinder Bains, Partner