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Ronkswood Hospital (Asbestos)

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he has taken to ensure that rubble removed from the Ronkswood hospital site, Worcester, is not contaminated with asbestos; and if he will make a statement; [109857](2) whether he owns the freehold of the former Ronkswood hospital site in Worcester; and who is responsible for the redevelopment of the site; [109860](3) what measures he is taking to ensure that the rubble and other materials from former NHS hospitals that are demolished is disposed of in accordance with the legal requirements and that all landfill tax is paid where necessary; and if he will make a statement. [109859]

The freehold for the Ronkswood Hospital site was transferred to Robert Hitchens Ltd. in May 2002 by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals National Health Service Trust. Thereafter all responsibility for the land and the buildings thereon passed to this company and it is understood they will be redeveloping the site. When NHS land is sold to the private sector, all responsibility for that land is also transferred. Before a sale is completed, a trust should hand over its records to the proposed purchaser on any known presence of asbestos or other hazardous material located on the site. Thereafter, it is the responsibility of the new owners to ensure that they carry out their own surveys and comply with all relevant legislation on the disposal of rubble and other material together with the payment of any potential landfill tax.