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It has been reported that Waltham Forest Borough Council has been fined after members of staff and contractors were exposed to asbestos, which the Council knew was present in the Town Hall basement.
The asbestos material was identified in a survey by the Council in 2002, but the Council failed to act on the findings and failed to put proper controls in place. Employees and visiting contractors then worked in the basement area regardless of the dangers for the next 10 years.
It has been reported that Westminster Magistrates heard that the issue became public in mid 2012, when a local resident requested some documentation.
The Court was told that Waltham Forest Borough Council did not have a plan for managing asbestos and there was an inadequate system in place for inspecting asbestos at the Town Hall. The Council was fined a total of £66,000 and ordered to pay £16,862 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and a breach of the Asbestos Regulations 2006. Andrew Stinchcombe of Novum Law comments “Asbestos can cause of a number of diseases, including the fatal and incurable lung condition mesothelioma. Asbestos disease can often take many decades to develop and the number of cases of mesothelioma in the UK is still continuing to rise. It is extremely important therefore that people are not put at unnecessary risk”.
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