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Asbestos Discovered in Scotland’s Bute House

Asbestos has been found in Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon’s residence in Edinburgh.

Bute House, located in Charlotte Square in New Town, Edinburgh was constructed in 1793 and from 1970 to 1999 was the residence of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Since then it has been the official residence of the Scottish First Minister. Recently, with refurbishments to the Neoclassical building being carried out, asbestos was found whilst replacing the 40-year-old lift.

Neighbours of Bute House and Health and Safety chiefs have been informed of the asbestos contamination, and specialist consultants were called to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and neighbours as the asbestos is removed and disposed of.

A Government spokesperson stated, “During these works, Bute House will be closed and the First Minister will not be in residence. The offices will only be reopened following confirmation that the asbestos has been completely removed.

“We anticipate that this work will take around 12 days to complete.”

We recently blogged about the discovery of asbestos in Buckingham Palace. Many people may think that asbestos is found only in dilapidated buildings, especially not in a building in which a minister resides, but the fact is that asbestos may well be prevalent throughout a vast number of households in the UK. Asbestos was used in commercial buildings until 1999. Whereas asbestos may go unnoticed behind walls, if disturbed, exposure to asbestos can result in lung diseases such as Mesothelioma.

In any case where asbestos is found, people’s safety should firstly be considered. Asbestos fibres and dust can be transported in clothing and hair. Exposure to asbestos can be fatal and yet the symptoms of Mesothelioma can take decades to surface for a doctor to make a diagnosis. Just as important as not disturbing asbestos is the correct and safe removal of asbestos by professionals. Scottish Government officials say that the asbestos in Bute House is a small “undisturbed” amount and there is no risk to past or present guests.

Much like the discovery of asbestos in Buckingham Palace and Parliament, the asbestos contamination in Bute House may potentially be another platform to raise awareness of the risks of exposure to asbestos and keep more people safe from harm.

First minister or Queen, asbestos doesn’t seem to discriminate as to where it was used. It is essential that when identified it is removed by an approved asbestos removal company to ensure all dangers are minimised. If you are exposed to asbestos you should register that exposure with Slater and Gordon in the event you develop an asbestos related disease.

Karyn McPhee is a Senior Litigation Executive with Slater and Gordon lawyers in Edinburgh.

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.

Has anyone you know been forced from their home by asbestos? Share your stories in the comment box below.


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