Residents of Afan Valley in South Wales have raised health and safety concerns following the demolition of a school that was believed to contain asbestos.
Duffryn Rhondda School was closed in 2010 due to the discovery of a low level risk of asbestos. In late 2015, the school was knocked down. The site of the former school is now privately owned.
Nicola Pearce, head of planning at Neath Port Talbot Council, stated: "Having checked the council records it would appear that the land is privately owned and there are no public rights of way running through the site. As a result members of the public should not be using the site as a footpath.”
Despite this, residents have informed the South Wales Evening Post that children continue to play on the old site, which is seemingly easily-accessed by climbing over the fence.
Afan Valley Asbestos Warning
Local residents in Afan Valley should be aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos and, in turn, make it clear to their children that the site of Duffryn Rhondda School is a high risk that is off-limits – as well as the fact that the grounds are no longer open to the public.
When disturbed, asbestos dust and fibres pose a greater risk of being inhaled; the effects of which are not obvious to the victim or doctors until decades later. Asbestos is highly dangerous, and exposure can result in lung diseases including mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, asbestos in UK schools is not uncommon. Statistics suggest that the number of school teachers diagnosed with mesothelioma in Britain has increased since the 1980s. Often, it is a matter of funding as to why the hazardous asbestos has not been removed, with schools unable to afford the considerable costs involved. Extensive safety precautions should always be made by contractors carrying out demolitions where even a low level of asbestos has been found. This is for the wellbeing of both the workers carrying out the deconstruction and the local residents.
In 2015, residents local to Scotland’s Bute House were informed of the asbestos contamination, and specialist consultants were called to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and neighbours as the asbestos was removed and properly disposed. The same should be made clear to the neighbours of the former Duffryn Rhondda School site, so that any health and safety concerns are addressed and the public know that the site should be treated as potentially dangerous.
Families are still paying a tragically high price arising from asbestos exposure many years ago. It would be awful if some additional children today needlessly joined the list of victims of this dreadful material in decades still to come.
Register Exposure to Asbestos Today
In the unfortunate event that you are exposed to asbestos it is essential that you register this exposure as soon as possible.
The Chest and Asbestos Disease team at Slater and Gordon are great supporters of raising awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos.
If you or a family has suffered from an asbestos-related cancer or disease call the expert personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.