£300,000 bill to tackle asbestos

COUNCILLORS are considering spending more than £300,000 tackling the risk posed by asbestos that is thought to be in more than 2,500 council homes in mid Suffolk.

COUNCILLORS are considering spending more than £300,000 tackling the risk posed by asbestos that is thought to be in more than 2,500 council homes in mid Suffolk.

Around four million tonnes of asbestos have been used within a wide range of construction products in the UK, with huge amounts installed in buildings – including homes in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

In mid Suffolk most asbestos is part of the outside cement of the homes, but is also found inside properties.

It was during 1999 that white asbestos was banned in the UK; blue and brown asbestos was banned nearly 20 years ago.


You may also want to watch:


Under new regulations material containing asbestos must be managed, with Health and Safety Executive advice saying removing it is not necessarily the best option, but that the risk the asbestos poses should be assessed and a risk management plan set in motion incurring the costs during the coming years.

John Law, housing manager for maintenance and improvement at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "If asbestos containing materials are in good condition and is not disturbed it poses no health risk, but when it is disturbed it can break down releasing its sharp microscopic fibres and it these that can be breathed in causing illness and death.

Most Read

"Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to several diseases, some of which are fatal. A wide range of people including heating and ventilation engineers, roofing contractors, general maintenance workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and joiners, plasterers painters, gas fitters among others are at risk of exposure to loose asbestos fibres.''

Councillors are being asked to endorse a new management plan to deal with asbestos in council properties, protecting maintenance workers and others who may be exposed to it.

The plan would include notifying tenants, employees and contractors about the asbestos, setting up a helpline for concerned tenants and carry out a risk assessment.

Mr Law said there could be prosecutions and adverse publicity, compensation claims and people suffering ill health.

One council house tenant from Stowmarket, who asked not to be named, said: "This would worry me, because I know some people who have suffered with this, having breathing problems.

"If it gets poked about by workmen, people doing DIY, that would concern me terribly. The council is right to look in to this.''

The district council's social policy panel meets from 5.30pm on Wednesday next week at their Needham Market chambers to discuss the matter.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus