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Asbestos is a highly dangerous, cancer-causing substance that is still present in many public buildings in the UK including schools, hospitals, office blocks, shops, and homes.
Recognising the dangers of asbestos, the European Commission has vowed to act to better protect people and the environment from asbestos and ensure an asbestos-free future.
The Commission has launched a public consultation on its proposal for the mandatory screening and registration of asbestos in buildings.
Its proposed legislation aims to “further address the health and environmental risks related to exposure to asbestos by increasing transparency and retrieving of additional information and ensuring its availability to relevant public authorities, construction workers and building occupants.”
“The European Commission asbestos consultation is a welcome move. Since 2005, all forms of asbestos have been banned in the EU, but it remains in many older buildings, posing a serious health threat, particularly when asbestos is disturbed during renovations, and dangerous dust and fibres are released into the air and inhaled.
“A report last year found that asbestos is present in around 300,000 public buildings across the UK, which is extremely worrying and represents a potentially ticking timebomb for those who have been exposed.
“However, to date, the UK has not done enough to address the issue, preferring a softly, softly approach rather than taking decisive action – despite the UK having some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. The hope is that we learn from our European counterparts and follow suit to protect workers from asbestos exposure.”
As outlined in a recent Novum Law blog, the UK government rejected calls for a national asbestos database last year, despite strong criticism that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has minimal information about the amount of asbestos in public buildings.
Call for evidence
The European Commission consultation on asbestos screening, monitoring and registering is open for feedback until 8 February 2023. If you would like your input to be taken into account as they further develop and fine-tune this initiative, you can do this here.
Legal advice if you are diagnosed with asbestos disease
If you or a loved one has been affected by asbestos exposure and diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it is vital to speak to a specialist asbestos disease lawyer as soon as possible.
Novum Law has a team of specialist asbestos solicitors who can help and support you make an asbestos compensation claim.