Asbestos blocks were accidentally dumped on the site of a new £27million visitor centre at national landmark, Stonehenge.
1.3 million people visit Stonehenge in Wiltshire each year. English Heritage, who care for the historic structure, have launched an investigation into a claim that topsoil, provided by a sub-contractor, contained asbestos.
An English Heritage spokesperson commented, "As guardians of this unique historic site, English Heritage took this issue very seriously, and were very disappointed that the contractors failed to provide the specified topsoil."
The asbestos was reportedly present at the site for “a matter of days” and has since been removed, with contractors accepting responsibility.
At the very least, this incident highlights a lack of education and awareness on the handling and disposal of asbestos. Contractors employed to handle asbestos are required to follow health and safety procedures that ensure that no-one is exposed to asbestos. To dump “brick-sized lumps of asbestos” on the site of a national landmark is not only incredibly irresponsible in terms of miscommunication and professionalism, but could have put many people at risk of exposure to asbestos, which can result in Mesothelioma among other asbestos-related lung diseases.
The Mesothelioma UK epidemic has threatened people on a broad scale, from Buckingham Palace to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos is shockingly low around the world. With asbestos used in commercial buildings and homes until 1999 in the UK, it is essential that more is done to promote awareness, and perhaps with press coverage of asbestos contaminations in such landmarks as Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Stonehenge, the dangers of asbestos will be made aware from a prominent platform.
Stonehenge is a lasting reminder of our history and of an achievement that has stood the test of time. It is sad that the site has now been contaminated, albeit temporarily, by a more tarnished legacy of human endeavours.
The full impact that previous asbestos exposure has, and will still cause, is not fully known. They may not be as recognised as the monuments on Salisbury Plain, but there are already too many smaller stones, in graveyards throughout the country, marking in some way the devastation that asbestos continues to leave in its wake.
Julian Cason is a personal injury lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Cardiff.
If you think you may have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.