New figures have shown that local authorities in England have paid out over £10m in compensation for asbestos related illnesses over the last ten years.
BBC Yorkshire has made enquiries into asbestos in schools using the Freedom of Information Act. The results have shown that at least 12,600 local authority schools in England are known to have asbestos present within their buildings. No figures were obtained for schools which have become academies, so the true number may be higher.
Exposure to asbestos can cause a number of asbestos related conditions, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural thickening and asbestos related lung cancer.
Although the dangers of asbestos exposure have been known for many decades, asbestos was still being used in school buildings as recently as 2000.
The BBC figures have revealed that over the last ten years, 32 councils in England have had to pay compensation to sufferers of asbestos related illnesses as a result of exposure to asbestos in schools.
The National Union of Teachers believes that as many as 300 adults die each year from asbestos related conditions following exposure to asbestos in schools.
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Asbestos in Schools group, commented on the figures:-
“This is a ticking time bomb because very few teachers and parents know that there is asbestos in schools. The very least we should do is make sure that this information is available to them.”
The Department for Education has responded to the figures by advising that the government is investing £23bn in improving school buildings.
If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our Freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.