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Campaigners want asbestos removed from Manchester’s public buildings

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A campaign group has called for councils in Greater Manchester to remove asbestos from all public buildings in order to protect workers and the public.

Freedom of Information requests made by the Manchester Evening News revealed that local councils in the area have paid out £1.8 million in damages to people with asbestos-related illnesses in recent years.

That figure is expected to rise in the coming years, as more people who were exposed to asbestos in the workplace develop mesothelioma.

Graham Dring, of the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group, told the newspaper that while the management of asbestos risks had improved in recent years, councils should take further action.

Mr Dring said: "In an ideal world, asbestos should be stripped from all public buildings, especially schools, where there is risk of children being exposed.

“In an era of financial restraints, this may not be realistic in the short term. However, we think local authorities should have a programme and targets for removing asbestos where and when they can.”

It is estimated that more than 1,600 public buildings in the Greater Manchester area still have asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos that is in good condition should not pose a risk to workers or the public, as long as a thorough survey has been undertaken and a proper risk management plan is in place to ensure it is not disturbed during maintenance work.

The removal of asbestos is a skilled job and should only be undertaken by contractors who have received the correct training and who have the required equipment. In some cases, the work can only be completed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor and this should be checked before the job begins.

BLS Asbestos has extensive experience of completing surveys and asbestos removal projects in public buildings, including schools. Please contact us for more information about our services for the public sector.

Published: 29th September 2014