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Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117709]

My Department has recently commissioned independent specialist consultants to carry our asbestos surveys in all the buildings the Department occupies and manages. These surveys will provide us with up to date information on the location, type and, most importantly, the condition of asbestos. Appropriate risk assessments have also been carried out, asbestos control measures confirmed and a programme of regular reviews and updates has been scheduled.All these procedures are being incorporated into an updated Departmental Health and Safety Management Plan. This will incorporate specific job responsibilities for building safety managers to maintain asbestos registers, undertake appropriate reviews and risk assessments and address all other statutory requirements to effectively manage the risks from asbestos in departmental buildings. These measures are being progressed in cooperation with the Health and Safety Executive and will result in the Department complying fully with the new Regulations.Accurate costings for compliance with the new Regulations are not available.