A FREEDOM of Information request submitted to Bradford Council has revealed that 74 schools in the district contain, or are presumed to contain asbestos.

The extensive list names the Bradford schools that, as of 2022, Bradford Council is directly responsible for under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Regulation 4 of the rules places a duty on the local authority to manage asbestos in buildings and highlights the schools that are known or presumed to contain asbestos.

Teaching officials moved to reassure parents that the presence of asbestos was not an immediate reason to worry.

Ian Murch, president of the National Education Union in Bradford, said that a lot of it is ‘probably a lot to do with the age of the buildings and shouldn’t be a cause for concern as long as it is managed correctly.’

He said: “The important thing is that the schools know it’s there to keep it safe. 

“The big risks come when people don’t realise that it’s there and they damage it, either accidentally or during building work.

“There have been incidents where as a union we have been called in because that has happened, so people that manage the property and building need to be aware, know the risks and let builders etc. know it’s there before work is carried out.”

Mr Murch went on to discuss the health implications, adding that there have been cases nationally where teachers have been compensated after becoming ill because employers have recognised that the asbestos exposure may have happened at work in a school environment.

He added that in some cases, significant long-term exposure is needed to become ill, but with mesothelioma, which is a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, it can be a one-time occurrence that causes the disease.

According to the FOI, the initial asbestos surveys were carried out around 1990 to 1994 but have been amended over the years due to intrusive surveys prior to works that have uncovered additional asbestos. 

New surveys were also required as the HSE deemed other materials could contain asbestos, therefore, there is not a singular date for when the asbestos was first ‘ flagged up.’

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “Safety is our top priority and we take issues like this incredibly seriously.

“A significant amount of asbestos remains in thousands of buildings across the UK.

“The Council’s Asbestos Management Unit provides each building under its control with an asbestos management plan which makes sure the material is checked, managed and kept in good condition.

“This plan is designed to ensure all our buildings comply with Health and Safety Executive Regulations which are there to protect people from harm.

“Our local schools have been advised on how to manage the material to protect pupils, visitors and staff.”

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