Baroness Donaghy – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Donaghy on 2016-09-05.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to eradicate the presence of asbestos on school sites in England and Wales.

Lord Nash

The issue of asbestos in schools is a serious one and the government is supporting those that are legally responsible for managing asbestos in schools.

The Health and Safety Executive, which is the lead regulator on managing asbestos advise that as long as asbestos is in good condition and unlikely to be damaged or disturbed, it is not a significant risk to health to pupils and students during the course of their daily activities. On this basis, the department has provided targeted guidance to schools on the effective management of asbestos in their schools and has recently concluded a voluntary data collection exercise to understand how duty holders are managing asbestos in their schools.

The department directly funds the removal of asbestos through schemes such as the Priority Schools Building Programme and provides capital funding for asbestos management and removal where appropriate for those schools that have identified that asbestos is in poor condition or poses a high risk of deterioration.

The department is not committing to the removal of asbestos in all schools as blanket and accelerated removal of asbestos in schools is potentially more dangerous and may involve greater risk to school children and staff.

It is the aim of the government that, over time, as more school buildings are replaced and refurbished, all asbestos will be removed from schools.