BBC Report reveals claims for those exposed to asbestos at School exceeds £10 million
30 Mar 2017
In a report produced by the BBC in December 2016, their investigation had discovered that 32 Councils in England have together paid out compensation claims in excess of £10 million to people who have developed asbestos related conditions including mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos at school in the last decade.
Exposure to asbestos fibres and dust puts people at risk of developing asbestos related conditions including mesothelioma, a cancer of the pleura, the lining of the lung, lung cancer, pleural thickening, asbestosis and pleural plaques. According to the HSE approximately 5,000 people die from asbestos related conditions each year in the UK.
The BBC report reveals that from Freedom of Information Act requests made to 135 councils, at least 12,600 schools in England have some asbestos in them. This figure did not include any academies which contain asbestos.
BBC obtained the information via Freedom of Information Act requests to the various councils in England. Ten of the councils asked refused to provide information about any asbestos claims they had had and so the figure of £10 million is likely to be too low.
The compensation payments were paid to former teachers, pupils and other staff.
Worryingly 13 of the councils asked held no information about which schools in their area contained asbestos.
The National Union of Teachers believes up to 300 people a year die because of exposure to asbestos in schools.
The Government has said it is investing £23bn to improve school buildings but campaigners worry that the continued presence of asbestos in schools continues to put teachers and pupil’s lives at risk.
Lucie Stephens, whose mum Sue died from mesothelioma having worked as a teacher for 30 years said "As she was dying mum was really angry and concerned about the 900 children that she'd taught during her career. If my mum has been exposed to this deadly substance, how many of those children will have been exposed?"
The BBC reported that in the last five years local authorities have recorded 99 instances of significant asbestos disturbances, where people have been put in danger because of potential exposure to asbestos.
Please click here for the full BBC report
Fozia Hussain of The Asbestos Law Partnership commented “It is worrying that in 2017, pupils and teachers are still potentially being exposed to asbestos whilst at school. It is important that asbestos is dealt with properly both in school buildings and anywhere else where it is present.”
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