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Michael Lees MBE has now retired from Asbestos in Schools (AiS) and we will not be updating this site. The research papers and other material will remain on the web for reference. AiS has now set up a new site which is more orientated towards public participation and is at www.asbestosinschools.org.uk. It has a number of current papers on it transferred from this site. - Michael Lees MBE 5 Oct 2015


Asbestos in Schools

Michael Lees MBE
CV


Michael Lees' wife Gina was a nursery school teacher. She was exposed to asbestos at school and died of mesothelioma at the age of 51. It soon became clear in his investigation into his wife’s death that the lack of asbestos management and the resultant exposures of staff and pupils in schools is a national problem.  In the twelve years since her death he has campaigned tirelessly to make schools safe from the dangers of asbestos. 

His research has been extensive. He has investigated the widespread use of asbestos in schools, the failure of many schools to effectively manage their asbestos, and the increasing deaths of teachers and support staff from mesothelioma. He has highlighted the particular risk to children.

He has written extensively on the subject and has had many articles published in both professional journals and national and local press. He has given many interviews on national and local TV and radio programmes. He lectures widely and has given presentations at asbestos, health and safety, medical, legal and parliamentary conferences. He has received a number of awards for his work.

Michael works with the media to bring the issue to the public so that they are aware of the potential for their child or themselves being exposed to asbestos at school. He wants openness so that parents and teachers are able to assess whether asbestos in their school is being properly managed.

His web site www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk  contains closely referenced research material that is extensively used by teachers, parents, solicitors, mesothelioma interest groups, the press and others. It is the most authoritative and comprehensive site addressing asbestos in schools in the UK. The purpose of the site is to inform people. Intentionally it has no commercial sponsorship.

He is one of the founder members of the Asbestos in Schools Group (AiS) which has drawn together organisations and individuals with expertise and an interest in the issue. They speak with a common voice to achieve their overall aim to make schools safe from the dangers of asbestos.

Through this work it has become clear that successive Governments have not been open about the problem of deteriorating asbestos in our schools and have failed to implement effective policies to tackle the problem. AiS has extensively lobbied the Government. It was instrumental in the Department for Education (DfE) establishing an Asbestos Steering Group to improve the asbestos management in schools.  AiS successfully put the case for the Committee on Carcinogenicity to assess the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos. AiS argued successfully for the withdrawal of HSE guidance that gave a dangerously high threshold for an exposure capable of causing mesothelioma. It has assisted DfE in the introduction of web-based asbestos awareness guidance for schools. AiS works with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Health and Safety who published a booklet for MPs “Asbestos in Schools - The Need for Action.”

Michael has represented the Asbestos in Schools Group in meetings with the Prime Minister and Ministers and represents the victims of asbestos exposure on the DfE Asbestos Steering Group.

There is now increasing pressure on the Government to assess the scale of the problem and the risks, to adopt a policy of openness and to implement practical policies that will ensure the safety of staff and children in the nation’s schools.

Before concentrating on asbestos, Michael was a pilot in the Royal Air Force and then a successful artist.

He was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2014. The citation reads:

Michael Robert Lees, Campaigner and Founder Asbestos in Schools Group. For services to the Wellbeing of Children and Teachers. (Holsworthy, Devon)

 

 

 

Michael Lees MBE has now retired from Asbestos in Schools (AiS) and we will not be updating this site. The research papers and other material will remain on the web for reference. AiS has now set up a new site which is more orientated towards public participation and is at www.asbestosinschools.org.uk. It has a number of current papers on it transferred from this site. - Michael Lees MBE 5 Oct 2015