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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent by his Department and its agencies on (a) asbestos surveys and (b) the management and removal of asbestos since 1 January 2001; and what budget is available to (i) commission asbestos surveys and (ii) manage and remove asbestos from buildings in (A) 2003 and (B) 2004. [130918]

A programme of surveys and risk assessments, covering all buildings occupied by this Department, is being carried out and it is anticipated that this will be completed by April 2004. This Department is expected to be fully compliant with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations by the required date of 21 May 2004. No estimate has been made of the cost of these actions so far or of the likely future cost. However, the majority of the Estate occupied by this Department was transferred, for value, to Land Securities Trillium in 1998. Under the terms of the contract they are responsible for arranging and funding the surveys and risk assessments and also taking necessary action for the removal or management of any asbestos found.