88% of WELB schools contain asbestos

NINE ouf 10 schools in the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) contain the potentially deadly fire retardant asbestos, it has been revealed.

A total of 212 WELB schools (88.65 per cent) contain the potentially cancer-inducing fibre.

Only the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) has more schools where asbestos-containing material can be found (90.71 per cent).

Education Minister John O’Dowd advised the education sectors “adequately manage the presence of asbestos containing materials in the North of Ireland schools’ estate. Currently there are no plans to provide specific asbestos training to school staff.”

He commented: “As a result of the introduction of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (NI) 2003 and the Control of Asbestos (NI Order) 2007 the ELBs arranged for asbestos assessments to be carried out of the schools’ estate to ascertain the extent of asbestos containing materials present. “Any asbestos containing materials that were identified during assessments as being ‘High Risk’ were removed following the assessment. Each school has an asbestos register detailing the presence of any asbestos containing materials within that school.

“This register is available for inspection by any personnel wishing to carry out any works at the school or for information purposes. In addition Department of Education Circular 2003/20 provides advice on the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (NI) 2003. I do not currently plan to issue any statement on the matter.”