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Industrial Health and Safety: Asbestos

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the (a) one-off and (b) recurring cost of implementing the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (125590)

The answer is as follows:

(i) The cost to business, in present value terms, of complying with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 was estimated to be some £1.4 billion in the first year. Recurring costs were estimated to be in the region of £13 million a year over 50 years.

These figures should be balanced against the estimated £3 billion benefits of the regulations. These arise from reducing the risks from asbestos and so preventing an estimated 4,700 asbestos related deaths over 50 years.

(ii) Combining the costs to HSE and local authorities of enforcing the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, the cost in the first year in which the regulations came into force was estimated to be in the region of £8 million in present value terms. Over a 10-year period, enforcement costs were estimated at £34 million. The information in this reply was drawn from the final Regulatory Impact Assessment for the legislation that is available in the Library or on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/ria/index.htm.

The Government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are committed to meeting the Better Regulation challenge. The HSE is constantly reviewing what can be done better to ensure that the right balance is struck between protecting people at work and avoiding unnecessary burdens on business.