Half Of Bradford Schools ‘Contain Asbestos’

Figures Shed Light On Presence Of Material

06.01.2014

New research has shown that around half of schools in Bradford may be home to asbestos materials, according to reports.

The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that the material, which is commonly found in ceiling tiles and heating systems among other places, is present in 96 out of 205 council-operated schools in the town.

Following the release of the figures, the local branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has warned that with many schools choosing to switch to academies away from council control, it may become harder to track the presence and management of asbestos.

Ian Murch, Bradford national executive member for the NUT, said: “Teachers in Bradford have died of mesothelioma, and families have been compensated on the basis that the exposure happened in the schools they worked in.

“It is not just an issue for teachers, it is an issue for pupils, because they are far more vulnerable when they are young.”

The release of the findings has come almost two years since an All Party Parliamentary Group described the presence of asbestos in schools as ‘national scandal’, stating that the material was present in more than 75 per cent of schools.

Earlier this year, the Education Select Committee held a hearing for oral evidence regarding the extent of the problem.

Expert Opinion
Despite ordering a full programme of asbestos removal in Westminster, the Government is worryingly yet to provide any clear indication on the presence of the material in schools.

"This is clearly a major concern and something that needs to be rectified soon, particularly considering children attend schools everyday and are known to be very vulnerable to the dangers that exposure to the material can pose.

"Asbestos exposure has long been regarded as something that only happens in heavy industry, but the presence of the material in so many public buildings such as schools and hospitals means this is simply not correct anymore.

"As someone who has successfully represented a number of teachers who were diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as the families of the teachers who passed away as a result of the asbestos-related cancer, I know from experience that the dangers of asbestos cannot be underestimated. Concern over its presence in schools is rightly growing. Action is clearly needed on this hugely important issue.”
Ian Bailey, Partner