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Demand for asbestos checks after discovery at Halesowen school

Dudley | News | Published:

Demands were today being made for all public buildings to be inspected for asbestos after the discovery of the substance led to the closure of classrooms at a Halesowen school.

A small amount of asbestos was discovered in a heating supply pipe at Earls High School.

Three classrooms and a girls' toilet have been sealed off while work is carried out to remove the material.

Today, UKIP councillor for Halesowen, Ken Turner, said Dudley Council should now inspect similar buildings to ensure the safety of the public.

He said: "I would like to think that Dudley Council will embark on a programme of looking into all buildings that are used by the public.

"They need to be observed and checked on to make sure they do not contain asbestos and could cause danger to the public."

The school was passed from Halesowen Borough Council to Dudley Metropolitan Council in 1974. It replaced Halesowen Grammar School in 1972.

Councillor Turner, who recently switched from being a Conservative to UKIP, said: "Additional work has been done for new buildings at the site.

"I would have thought the council could have looked for and identified the asbestos then.

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"It should have been found and removed a long time ago."

Asbestos is not dangerous unless it is disturbed and fibres become airborne. The Health and Safety Executive and a health and safety team from Dudley Council are assisted the school.

It was discovered after the heating broke down following the end of the Christmas period, on January 6.

The school was closed for the following two days.

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Since then, the classrooms and toilet have been sealed off with drama lessons having to be held elsewhere in the school.

Mr Kew said: "There was disruption on the first week we came back for Christmas.

"In terms of lessons we lost, I think we are able to make up for the time over the next few weeks.

Mr Kew added the school would look to improve the heating system over the coming years.

Wendy Hill, aged 50, removed her 16-year-old daughter from the school yesterday, despite assurances from bosses.

She said: "I want to see the school cleared of it first before my daughter goes back.

"I know what a nasty thing asbestos is and I don't want to take the risks."

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