Asbestos claims hit £10m over English schools

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Posted on January 16, 2019

Figures obtained by BBC News show that in the past decade 32 councils have settled claims from former teachers, school staff or pupils.

The National Union of Teachers says up to 300 adults die each year because of exposure to asbestos while at school.

The government says it is investing £23bn to improve school buildings.

But campaigners warn that the presence of asbestos in schools continues to put pupils lives at risk.

"My mum Sue was a teacher for 30 years and her life was cut short because of this horrible material," Lucie Stephens said.

"As she was dying she was really angry and concerned about the 900 children that she'd taught during her career. If my mum has been exposed to this deadly substance, how many of those children will have been exposed?"

Using the Freedom of Information Act, BBC Yorkshire has obtained figures from 135 councils in England, that show there are at least 12,600 council-run schools where asbestos is known to be present.

The number of actual schools that contain asbestos is likely to be higher as many have become academies and so are not included in the figures.

It is widely accepted that any school building built before the year 2000 is likely to contain some form of asbestos.

In the last five years local authorities have also recorded 99 instances of significant asbestos disturbances, where people have been put in danger because of potential exposure to the substance.

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