FoI request reveals over 9 in 10 Solihull schools contain asbestos

Almost ninety per cent of the schools that Solihull Council is responsible for contain asbestos, according to official figures and reported by the Coventry Telegraph.

A Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed that 46 of the 53 schools are understood to have the material inside the buildings.

Twelve sites are listed as containing crocidolite – also known as blue asbestos – which is considered the most harmful type of the substance.

If inhaled, asbestos fibres can cause a range of life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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While the material was eventually banned outright in 1999, it had been routinely used in construction projects in decades gone by.

Schools, in common with many public buildings, often made use of asbestos to fire-proof structures.

While many builders and other tradesmen exposed to the material have suffered health problems in later life, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggests there is a low risk to the general public if the material is properly handled.

A Solihull Council spokesman said that the local authority closely followed the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 – which spell out the legal duties for managing the substance. The council said;

“Each school has its own register which lists where asbestos is present on the premises, and each asbestos occurrence has its own material and priority rating.

Every occurrence is risk assessed and this dictates whether it will be managed or removed.”

The data provided relates only to those schools which are still part of the local authority and not those which have converted to academies (which in Solihull includes all but one of the secondary schools).