TEACHING unions have expressed their concern at the number of schools that contain asbestos in East Lancashire.
Figures from Lancashire County Council have revealed that 186 of the region’s schools contain the hazardous building material that was banned from being used in the UK in 1999.
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Burnley has 42 schools which house the substance, which compares with 38 each in Hyndburn and Pendle, 35 in Rossendale, 22 in the Ribble Valley and 11 in Blackburn.
Lancashire-wide at least 570 of the county’s 617 schools contain asbestos. The NASUWT and the NUT have argued that the material should be removed from schools because it poses a serious health risk to Children.
The council complies with national guidelines which state that asbestos can remain in schools as long as it is left undisturbed.
Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “This is a serious matter of health, safety, and welfare of the children and young people and the workforce in our schools.
“Asbestos is deadly and those who learn and work in our schools face risks on a daily basis.”
Speaking after the government published a review of the management of asbestos in schools, Lancashire’s NUT representative Simon Jones said: “The report comprehensively fails to set out a long-term strategy for phased removal of asbestos from our schools.
“There is no change to the overall view that schools are low risk.
“In the run-up to the general election the NUT will be challenging the political parties to set out how they intend to deal with this problem, and holding them to account in the future.”
County councillor 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.
“Where it occurs, it is inspected regularly and does not represent any threat to staff, children or young people.”