Heavy fines for Bradford hotel over asbestos removal delays

A Bradford city centre hotel’s owners have been hit with fines totalling £30,000 after admitting to “unacceptable delays” in removing asbestos, the BBC has reported.

A court was told that asbestos was found in several parts of Bradford’s Midland Hotel in November 2017 but removal work did not start until spring 2018.

The company also admitted a number of other health and safety breaches.

Owners Peel Hotels was told were it not for the impact of the Covid pandemic on the hospitality sector, the fine would have been “a six-figure sum.”

Bradford Magistrates’ Court heard asbestos had been discovered in areas used by staff, but not guests, including a basement corridor, a lift shaft and a former kitchen area.

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Giles Bridges, for Bradford Council, said the authority was alerted on 16 May 2018 by a former hotel manager and when environmental health officers visited on 22 May asbestos was still present.

He added that when officers asked to see certain paperwork, such as health and safety assessments, staff were unable to produce them.

The court heard officers “were concerned” the asbestos risk hadn’t been taken more seriously.

Charles Row, representing Peel Hotels, said the company had spent more than £100,000 since 2018 on asbestos removal but admitted there had been “unacceptable delays”.

He told the court that until recently the company had an annual profit of £15.5m but was now “making a thumping loss” due to the pandemic.

District judge Richard Clews said:

“There was no deliberate cost-cutting, more a failure to keep on top of things.

However these are very different times, unprecedented times, particularly for the hospitality industry, and I must reflect that in the penalty I impose.”

The company was fined £24,000, and ordered to pay £6,000 towards prosecution costs. It has 12 months to pay in full.