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Garages Pose Asbestos Exposure Risk in Barrow, Cumbria

Over the recent school holidays, children in the area of Avon Street, Barrow have been playing in garages that were thought to have been littered with potentially hazardous debris including asbestos.

Maureen Slater, of Orion Terrace has been trying to get the land cleared for four years. She said, “I’ve approached councillors, the fire service and environmental health. I got a residents’ petition and I submitted that to local MP John Woodcock, the fire service and police. Nothing has been done.”

Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support Group (CARDS) says urgent action should be taken to get the site cleared and warn the public of the dangers of the material, especially exposure to any asbestos products. Having inspected the garages, CARDS estimates that 21 out of the 72 garages pose a risk of asbestos.

Julie Clarke, a member of the group said, “I first contacted Barrow Borough Council, environmental health and Furness Lettings in 2011 regarding asbestos sheeting and broken sheets lying in the allotments and garages and was informed it would be removed. None of this work was carried out. I have recently been approached by worried residents regarding these garages as local children are playing both on the broken roofs and inside the garages where broken asbestos and dust is lying.”

Director of Furness Property Letting and Management, Caroline Metcalfe which represents the landlord of Avon Street garages, said steps had been taken to remove any potentially harmful asbestos materials.

A contractor who specialises in the removal of asbestos started work on July 16 and Caroline said, “The landlord will be attending Avon Street in August to plan the schedule of works with the contractor to refurbish the remaining asbestos garage roofs. The contractor used specialises in removal of asbestos and has method statement, risk assessments in place and has undertaken training in asbestos awareness courses. I have again instructed the contractor to remove any asbestos off the site.”

It should be noted that any exposure to asbestos dust or fibres can be dangerous and people could later develop the asbestos diseases including asbestosis, pleural thickening; and Mesothelioma which is fatal. The Health & Safety Executive’s recent data suggests that more than 2,000 people across England and Wales died from Mesothelioma in 2012 alone.

Regretfully, thousands more people are expected to die from Mesothelioma in the years to come.

Anyone who believes that they have been exposed to asbestos dust or fibres should register this exposure as soon as possible. Slater and Gordon Lawyers maintain a National Asbestos Register and you can register free of charge online or by calling freephone 0800 884 0275 or 0161 383 3527

Helen Wilson is a specialist Asbestos and Mesothelioma compensation Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester. For a free consultation call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.