Labour MP calls for asbestos audit

15 Feb 2012

A Labour MP has urged the Government to establish how many school buildings still contain asbestos and take appropriate action so that children's lives are no longer "put in danger".

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said a national audit must be carried out and a new culture of openness should be introduced, as many parents do not know whether their children are at risk of being exposed to the potentially deathly material.

He said that lagging which contains asbestos is still used as part of the heating system in many schools, and that slamming doors or taking a drawing pin out of the wall could lead to asbestos particles being released into the air.

Mr Lavery added: "In terms of openness we have a huge problem. The presence and incidents of asbestos fibre release is often played down. It's accurate to suggest that many parents are not aware or not informed of the presence of asbestos at their children's place of education.

"A recent survey found that at least a half of school staff were not informed of the problem either."

However, Education Minister Nick Gibb said he plans to follow the Health and Safety Executive's advice to leave remaining asbestos in schools as it is safer than removing it.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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