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Schools: Asbestos

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) if he will commission a national audit to determine the (a) extent, (b) type and (c) condition of asbestos in school buildings; (289818)

(2) if he will commission a national audit to determine the standards of asbestos management in respect of school buildings.

In January 2009 DCSF sent out a questionnaire about the management of asbestos in system-built schools to local authorities to confirm that the school duty holders were managing asbestos correctly. DCSF and HSE are evaluating the responses to identify local authorities that are managing the risks, so that HSE inspections can be targeted at those that are not.

We do not intend to extend this to a national audit to determine the extent, type and condition of asbestos in school buildings. The Control of Asbestos Regulation 2006 places duties on those responsible for the maintenance and repair of non-domestic buildings, including schools, to take reasonable steps to identify the location and condition of asbestos containing materials. The duty holder must then use this information to make a written record and management plan to ensure that the risks of exposure to asbestos are properly managed. A national audit would duplicate these arrangements, and have little or no effect in reducing the health risks associated with asbestos.