Labour’s Education spokesperson on Suffolk County Council has called on the Conservative-led administration to undertake an immediate review into the scale of asbestos use in schools following concerns that the number of deaths from asbestos poisoning is increasing rather than decreasing.
Campaigners have estimated that more four in five schools across the country contain asbestos and that many schools did not keep appropriate and up to date records of where asbestos in the schools is. Asbestos is known to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a lung disease caused by asbestos.
A letter sent by Cllr Jack Abbott urges Cllr Gordon Jones, the Cabinet member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills to carry out an urgent, transparent and robust review of the current situation with regard to asbestos in schools. The aim of this review would be to establish whether Suffolk’s schools are safe environments for both pupils and teaching staff alike.
The request from Cllr Abbott goes on to ask for quick and decisive action should there be a problem in order to eliminate any potential risk posed by asbestos.
Cllr Abbott said; “This is a potentially an incredibly serious issue and one which the county council needs to move swiftly and decisively on. We know that many schools do take the issue of asbestos seriously, but we need to be sure that every school in Suffolk has detailed records identifying where their asbestos is and that the casing around it is safe and well maintained.
He added; “We must take a proactive lead in making sure that staff and pupils in all of our schools are working in a safe environment. If there is a problem in Suffolk it needs to be dealt with now in order to stop any future deaths.”