Most schools contain asbestos

HOLD FOR STORY BY JAMES REED'SWINNOW PRIMARY SCHOOL AT BRAMLEY,PICTURED WITH TEACHER MRS RUTH LEE WITH YEAR ONE.''''''STOCK; Child holds pencil, classroom, school.
HOLD FOR STORY BY JAMES REED'SWINNOW PRIMARY SCHOOL AT BRAMLEY,PICTURED WITH TEACHER MRS RUTH LEE WITH YEAR ONE.''''''STOCK; Child holds pencil, classroom, school.

Asbestos is found in 66 schools in Lancaster according to data released following a Freedom of Information request.

The data reveals that at least 570 of the county’s 617 schools contain asbestos, the bulk of them in Preston, Chorley and South Ribble.

But information held by the county council shows the highest number of schools known to contain asbestos are in Lancaster and Preston, which each have 66.

The National Union of Teachers has been running a major campaign for more than a year to try to tackle the problem in the county.

National and county health and safety officer Ian Watkinson branded the figures “a scandal on a local and national scale”.

He said: “We have been campaigning about this on both national and local level. It is so important. Parents don’t know, nor do teachers, and most of it is much of it is not being managed properly.”

“Children, teachers and other school workers are being needlessly exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on a daily basis.”

The county abides by national policy which means leaving asbestos in situ unless it becomes a problem.

Between September 2010 and February 2011 the county council paid out £421,322 in compensation and £63,500 in legal costs.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “As in all other councils around the country, most of Lancashire’s older schools contain some asbestos.

“As long as it is in good condition, well-sealed and not disturbed then it is far safer to leave it well alone.”