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Asbestos removal from schools could cost £100bn

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The topic of asbestos removal in schools became one of the key discussions in the Commons Public Accounts Committee hearing earlier this month.

It was suggested that it would cost around £100 billion to remove asbestos from schools in England, as the hearing heard that teachers and pupils are at risk of asbestos exposure in one in five schools.

Commissioning a licensed asbestos contractor to remove the substance in a controlled manner is the most effective way to prevent children and staff from being exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

In one particularly concerning example heard by the Committee, Hetton School in Sunderland had to close a building in windy weather because of concerns about asbestos, reports the TES.

Former head Phil Keay said: "In terms of the asbestos, most of the asbestos is encased, but there were some ceiling tiles which are taped together, so therefore should be fairly secure, but on windy days, literally the wind got through the building, would open doors and would lift ceilings. And when ceilings lift, the dust then falls."

The building had to be shut on a number of occasions, he added, and children were sent to a "fumigation van - an emergency van - to make sure that they were de-dusted, and hosed down and cleaned".

Mike Green, director of capital at the Education Funding Agency, later told the Committee that while problems as severe as those at Hetton School were rare, research had found that asbestos was a major issue in England’s schools.

He told MPs: "The only way to truly address asbestos is to rebuild the building. The cost of rebuilding the estate, roughly £100 billion - 85-ish percent of schools in the survey had asbestos in them.

"The clear advice of the Health and Safety Executive is leave asbestos where it is and manage it, because it is difficult to take out safely."

BLS Asbestos is licensed to remove asbestos and transport hazardous materials, and has vast experience of working in schools and public buildings, as well as commercial premises.

Call 01484 400558 or contact us via the website to request a quote for an asbestos survey and/or asbestos removal work.

Published: 17th March 2017