FoI Request Highlights Presence Of Asbestos In Leicester Schools

Further Calls For Material To Be Removed From Public Buildings


New figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request have revealed that 77 schools in Leicester are understood to contain asbestos.

The Leicester Mercury reports that the data released by Leicester City Council has come after a woman whose husband died of the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, called on businesses and authorities to undertake work to remove the material from buildings.

Christine Glover believes her husband, David, came into contact with asbestos during the course of his painting and decorating work in a number of schools, businesses and other commercial properties. She is now arranging an event in memory of her late husband to raise funds for the charity Mesothelioma UK.

Her calls for action have been echoed by the local branch of the National Union of Teachers, with health and safety advisor Andrew Haynes telling the newspaper: "All asbestos should be removed from schools, whenever it is found and whatever its form, unless this is completely impractical.

"Much of the asbestos in Leicester schools could be removed without major disruption. This might be an expensive exercise but we believe people's lives are more important than money."

Leicester City Council stressed that the presence of asbestos was managed in line with Health and Safety Executive guidance and that asbestos materials in good condition should be left in place.

The release of the figures has come after reports in the Telegraph and Argus revealed that half of schools in Bradford are believed to contain asbestos.

Expert Opinion
This is yet another story which demonstrates how concerns regarding the presence of asbestos in schools are continuing to grow, highlighting specifically why the Government needs to provide some clear action on this issue.

"Through our work and sponsorship of organisations such as Mesothelioma UK, we see first-hand the effects that asbestos has on so many lives.

"We also represent a growing number of people who have worked in schools – including teachers and support staff such as cleaners – and believe they have developed asbestos-related illnesses as a result of coming into contact with the material in such locations.

"With many school buildings getting older and beginning to deteriorate, as a result, there are some concerns about whether asbestos may in the process become damaged.

"So many people are potentially at risk and work needs to be undertaken to tackle this issue once and for all."
Adrian Budgen, Partner