Hundreds of Derbyshire schools containing asbestos has cost a council more than £400,000 in compensation and with outstanding claims still to be dealt with, the cost to Derbyshire County Council could increase.
A freedom of information request posted on the council’s website showed the statistics, with hundreds of Derbyshire schools listed containing asbestos.
Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team, a charity that helps people who have been affected by exposure to asbestos, said asbestos in schools was a growing issue in the cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis. Coordinator Joanne Gordon said: “It’s a shocking amount of money to be paid out but it’s the right thing to happen.
“We are seeing more and more teachers and school staff who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and we are launching a project to raise awareness of asbestos in schools.”
The freedom of information request revealed a list of more than 200 Derbyshire schools where asbestos was present in buildings. Ms Gordon said this was not surprising as asbestos was used in building insulation until 2000. The council said it had faced seven claims from school staff and ex-pupils, though it did not give exact details of claimants. The council’s response said: “Of the seven pursued, three are now closed (two successful) and four are still open.
“Of the three closed cases, total damages were £131,897.53. Of the four open cases, damages paid were £269,019.”
Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team has launched a new function on its website that informs people of the places where asbestos might be found in school buildings. Ms Gordon said: “Teachers working in schools should check the asbestos register and find out where their asbestos is and what condition it’s in, so they can then be aware if that condition deteriorates.
“If people think they could have been exposed to asbestos then they should go to see their GP and have an x-ray.”
Ms Gordon said asbestos could be found in the walls and roof tiles.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We follow strict Health and Safety regulations to control asbestos in school buildings and keep pupils and staff safe. The buildings are regularly checked by a qualified team and we remove asbestos wherever it could potentially cause a problem or if any building work identifies a requirement for removal.”
Source: Burton Mail