MPs Call for Zero Asbestos

The Parliamentary Select Committee for Work and Pensions has called for the removal of asbestos from all non-domestic buildings. The Committee wants this to happen within 40 years. The government’s response is expected in the next few days.

The minister responsible for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Chloe Smith, has acknowledged that the government already has ‘a clearly stated goal’ to remove all of the asbestos from these buildings as quickly and safely as possible. However, the government doesn’t have a timetable for doing this.

Lord David Hunt, the president of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, has pointed out on the Conservative Home website that ‘a plan of safe removal of asbestos’ would  ‘provide jobs for an expert workforce’. He says it would tie in with the government’s existing programmes to retrofit homes in order to bring them up to modern environmental and safety standards.

Ian Lavery MP, the chair of the Group, says that ‘we need urgent change, with an unequivocal position for safe removal.’ He goes on to say that we need this ‘in the fastest possible timeframe. For thousands of working people it’s a matter of life or death.’ The Health and Safety Executive estimates that the annual cost of deaths from mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer is £6.5 billion.

We urge readers to write to your MPs drawing attention to

  • the report from the Select Committee
  • the government’s stated goal of removing asbestos
  • Lord Hunt’s ideas about how to get this started (if your MP is a Conservative)
  • and Ian Lavery’s view that we need the fastest possible time frame in which to do this safely
  • Tell them about the cost of doing nothing
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