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Rochdale leads the way on asbestos in schools

Date published: 05/02/2009

Rochdale is leading the way in clearing asbestos from its schools and more local authorities should follow the town's example, according to MP Paul Rowen.

9 out of 10 schools in Greater Manchester contain asbestos and reports suggest that the figure is similar for schools across the country.

Mr Rowen believes that some authorities are taking the issue more seriously than others. "I am pleased that my own council of Rochdale are one of the leading authorities in the country for dealing with asbestos issues," he said. "I am afraid I cannot say the same for several other authorities. There seems to be a postcode lottery when it comes to protecting from asbestos and we need to enforce Government legislation more vigorously."

The MP has renewed his call for an immediate, nationwide audit on asbestos in schools. He told a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on asbestos: "The fact remains that the main way that this is currently being dealt with is by demolishing schools and building new ones. On the Government's track record of investing in school buildings, this will take decades.

"The presence of asbestos in schools should be at the top of all Councils' agendas. I am calling for an immediate audit and an increase in the level of staff dedicated to asbestos monitoring, especially in schools."