West London parents are shocked by presence of asbestos at a number of schools

Dozens of West London schools contain a potentially fatal type of asbestos, an FOI request has shown.

More than half a dozen schools run by Hammersmith and Fulham council contain a harmful type of asbestos – while 30 out of its 62 schools contain some form of the hazardous material.

The council revealed seven of its schools contain crocidolite asbestos – the most harmful type – in response to a Freedom of Information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A council spokesperson said:

“We call on the government to provide more funding for local councils to replace or refurbish old school buildings with asbestos-containing materials. We comply fully with all UK regulations governing asbestos.

All H&F schools have been surveyed and implement a strict regime including annual surveys and local ‘duty holders’ at each school to maintain a safe environment.”

Asbestos fibres can cause fatal diseases if inhaled such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, a malignant tumor.

It was often used in buildings throughout the UK in the 1950s and 80s but was banned in the 1999 after it was found to be linked to lung diseases.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says asbestos is most dangerous when disturbed or damaged so it does not pose a significant health risk if it is properly managed.

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There are different types of asbestos – chrysotile (white) is the most commonly used form while crocidolite (blue) is considered the most harmful.

Many schools built before 2000 will include some type of asbestos, according to the HSE. It was used in various forms such as insulation for pipes, fire protection, ceiling and floor tiles.

In 2019, the Department for Education referred 676 English state schools and academies to the HSE for failing to give evidence they were managing asbestos in line with regulations.