Over 5000 public buildings in Wales have asbestos
A Welsh Conservative investigation has revealed the scale of asbestos in public buildings in Wales.
According to freedom of information requests, 5,264 council, health board, and Welsh Government buildings have or are suspected to have asbestos, including 1,302 schools.
The highest number of buildings in this category among local authorities was in Swansea, with 1,170 buildings, representing 90% of its stock. Cardiff Council had the highest proportion at 92%.
Carmarthenshire had 182 school buildings with asbestos, the highest of all council areas, followed by Cardiff with 104.
Health boards in Wales had 636 buildings with asbestos, 197 of them in Cardiff & Vale, but Powys had the highest proportion with 94%. 35% of the Welsh Government’s administrative estate had asbestos.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Minister Sam Rowlands MS said:
“These buildings house council workers, NHS staff, patients, teachers, pupils, and more – they should be able to go to work, school, or hospital and feel safe there, especially from this substance with the potential to cause cancer.
“Whilst we know it’s unlikely that asbestos will be inhaled unless buildings are damaged, the scale of this issue suggests a public health risk that is just not being tackled.
“These buildings are in the hands of government – be it local or national – with enormous numbers of people coming through their doors every day, so Labour ministers really need to examine the possibility of ring-fencing funding to address these defects.
“Otherwise, the public servants who go there to educate our children and treat our parents will continue to have to enter a building they know may be unsafe for them and others.”