Schools: Asbestos

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th December 2017.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what analysis and data her Department holds on the number of school buildings which contain asbestos.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department takes the issue of asbestos in schools seriously, and is committed to supporting schools, local authorities and academy trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely. It is the aim of the government that, over time, as more school buildings are replaced and refurbished, all asbestos will be removed from schools.

The Department has invested £4.2 billion in maintenance and improvement across the schools’ estate since 2015, enabling local authorities and multi-academy trusts to maintain their school buildings, and is rebuilding or refurbishing buildings at over 500 schools through the Priority Schools Building Programme - an investment of £4.4 billion. Asbestos is being removed or encapsulated where appropriate as part of these programmes.

Usage of asbestos in the construction of buildings in Britain, including schools, peaked between 1945 and 1975 before declining until its use was banned in 1999.

The Department is currently developing an asbestos management assurance process. This process will ask local bodies responsible for management of asbestos in schools to provide information about whether asbestos is present in their schools and how this is being managed.

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