Petition to rid Welsh schools of asbestos ready for government

2nd February 2015

Classroom in a schoolA campaign group will present a petition to Welsh government ministers tomorrow (February 3 2015), in a bid to create a public database recording the number of schools in the country which potentially contain asbestos.

The Right to Know Asbestos in Schools Wales group is calling for the Welsh government to produce a plan of action for the removal of asbestos in all school buildings. According to the group, around 85 per cent of school buildings in Wales may currently contain asbestos. The petition has so far garnered 448 signatures, dailypost.co.uk reports.

There has been a total of £539,000 in compensation payouts to three asbestos victims in North East Wales in recent years, according to personal injury lawyer and member of the group Cenric Clement-Evans.

“We have been told that asbestos is safe if it is left alone and not disturbed,” he said. “But how do you know if you have disturbed it, if you don’t know where it is?”

“There needs to be a central database on which schools have asbestos. We can’t just rip it out, but there also needs to be a plan for how it is going to be removed from schools.”

Despite figures from the Health and Safety Executive showing that Wales had a mesothelioma death rate of 50 per million people between 2010 and 2012, the petition has already been considered and rejected by the Welsh government on five different occasions.

Meanwhile, the cost of the recent removal of asbestos from Llanedeyrn High School in Cardiff soared to more than £1.2 million, after cabinet member for Education and Skills Councillor Julia Magill described the amount of asbestos found as “unforeseeable”, walesonline.co.uk notes.