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Schools: Asbestos

Department for Education written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of Stephanie Peacock Stephanie Peacock Labour, Barnsley East

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of removing asbestos from school buildings.

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

The Department takes the safety of pupils, staff and visitors to schools very seriously.

The Department has not determined the cost to the public purse of removing asbestos from the entire school estate, as the decision to remove asbestos is made on a case by case basis.

Expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive is that if asbestos is unlikely to be damaged or disturbed, then it is best managed in situ. The Department is clear that if asbestos does pose a safety risk and cannot be effectively managed in situ, then it should be removed from schools.

Since 2015, the Department has allocated over £7.4 billion to those responsible for school buildings to maintain and improve the school estate, including removing asbestos when it is the safest course of action. In addition to this, asbestos is a factor in choosing which buildings to re-build through the Priority School Building Programme.

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