Asbestos still in most schools

The vast majority of schools in South Holland have asbestos in them, it has been revealed.

Just six of all 44 primary, secondary and special schools in the district are listed as not having the material in their buildings.

Lincolnshire County Council insists there is no risk to people’s health from the asbestos, as it currently is in the schools.

The revelation follows a Freedom of Information request which asked if all schools in the county had asbestos in them or not.

Those listed without asbestos in South Holland were: Gosberton Clough and Risegate Community Primary School, Holbeach William Stukeley CE Primary School, Moulton Chapel Primary School, Quadring Cowley and Brown’s Primary School, Spalding Wygate Park Academy and Weston Hills Primary School in Spalding.

Asbestos was used frequently in the construction of buildings before being banned in 1999.

The National Education Union (formerly the National Union of Teachers) is campaigning about the amount still in schools using Health and Safety Executive figures to claim that 319 teachers have died from mesothelioma, a type of cancer that asbestos is known to cause. Some 205 of the deaths have been since 2001.

The latest government advice on managing asbestos released in 2017 states that the substance is safe so long as it is properly managed: “The majority of school buildings contain asbestos,” it continues.

“Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous mineral which was incorporated into a wide variety of materials that became part of buildings or articles in the UK up to the year 2000.

“If managed carefully, the presence of asbestos in your school will not pose a risk to your staff and pupils.”

Andy Fenn, Lincolnshire County Council’s facilities service manager, said: “The county council has a management plan in place to deal with asbestos.

“If the asbestos materials are in a good condition, will not be disturbed and do not pose a risk to health then it’s usually better to leave them undisturbed.

“Current legislation and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance states there is no specific requirement to automatically remove asbestos containing materials.”

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