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Blackwood Case ‘The Latest To Put Asbestos In Schools In Spotlight’

Reports Reveal Legal Action Is Being Taken Over Wife’s Death


By Rob Dixon

A lawyer has described news that legal action is being launched by a man whose wife allegedly was exposed to asbestos while working in a school as just the latest in a number of stories to put the spotlight on the material’s presence in such buildings.

South Wales Argus reports that Brian Butcher has launched a battle for justice against Newport City Council, which administers claims for the former Gwent County Council, over the death of his wife Brenda.

The paperwork alleges that the former cleaner, who died in 2011, may have been exposed to asbestos during her work as a cleaner in Pengam Primary School between 1980 and 1988.

It is alleged that pipework at the site was lagged with asbestos and that Mrs Butcher would often clean and sweep dust in areas around the pipework, while it is claimed she was not warned about the dangers of exposure to asbestos.

Kim Barrett, an asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who lives in Wales, said reports of the case reflected an increasing awareness of the presence of the deadly material in school environments.

She outlined: “Exposure to asbestos is commonly associated with industrial settings, but recent trends have shown that this is simply no longer the case. We are seeing a growing number of cases which are related to people who have been exposed to the material in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

“Reports of this case have also followed the various concerns seen in Wales regarding the potential presence of high levels of asbestos at Cwmcarn High School in Caerphilly.

“According to recent reports, it is believed that asbestos is present in more than 75 per cent of schools and considering the age and condition of some buildings it is vital to ensure that measures are in place for the proper management of its presence.

“We have seen on too many occasions the terrible consequences that exposure to asbestos can have on both victims, their families and relatives. It is vital that efforts are made to ensure that people are kept safe from these dangers going forward.”

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.