Governments urged to reach an agreement on asbestos in schools

30th July 2015

Campaigners have called for the Welsh Assembly and UK government to reach a decision on who is responsible for clearing asbestos from schools in Wales.

A dispute is ongoing between the two sides over which has responsibility from clearing the hazardous material from Welsh schools. The Assembly claims it’s a nationwide issue that Whitehall needs to remedy, whilst the UK government claims it’s a devolved matter.

With both sides at loggerheads and looking unlikely to back down, lawyer Cenric Clement-Evans has called for a resolution for the greater good of pupils and teachers in schools across Wales.

The lawyer, from Right to Know: Asbestos in Schools Wales, told bbc.co.uk: “I don’t care who takes responsibility, I want somebody to take responsibility.

“This is too important to get embroiled in some form of party politics or some big issues between the Welsh government and the UK government. I think that the way is fairly straightforward, not the managing of the issue but the putting together of a steering group, deciding policy. I don’t think it’s difficult to start that ball rolling.”

A BBC report from 2012 put the number of Welsh schools containing asbestos at 1,514 – or 85 per cent. Another study discovered that, in the nine years to 2012, 224 Brits whose last occupation was “teaching professional” died of mesothelioma.