Search

Council allays health fears after bungled asbestos removal at Benhurst School, Hornchurch

10:17 30 April 2013

Havering Council says it will monitor the air at Benhurst Primary School every morning

Havering Council says it will monitor the air at Benhurst Primary School every morning

PA/Press Association Images

Parents are worried about their children’s health in the aftermath of bungled asbestos work at a primary school - despite rigorous health assurances from Havering Council.

It is believed the potentially cancer-causing material had not been fully removed from the roof spaces of three rooms and the school hall at Benhurst Primary School, in Benhurst Avenue, Hornchurch, following work carried out by contractors over the Easter break.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been informed and there have been air and dust tests carried out to ascertain any health risk, the council said in a letter sent to parents last week.

It confirmed: “We wanted to reassure you that we have found no evidence at all to suggest that any pupils have been exposed to asbestos fibres.”

The HSE is not investigating.

A spokesman for the watchdog added: “HSE was informed by the council of the asbestos removal work at Benhurst Primary. We have received assurances from the authority and the school that sampling has been carried out which shows that schoolchildren, staff and visitors are not at risk.”

Sheets of plastic have been taped to the affected areas before permanent work is undertaken during the summer holidays.

Council officers met parents twice last week but some said the assurances did not go far enough.

“There are a lot of worried parents,” one mum said. “Teachers are worried as well. Some of the plastic sheeting came down in the hall and that area is now cordoned off. It doesn’t sound like the school has been made safe.”

Asbestos, now banned but once widely used to insulate buildings, is only dangerous if broken or damaged.

Cleaners working at the school during the works and clean-up are concerned they may have been exposed to dangerous fibres. But the council said there was “no evidence” that this had happened but it is discussing the situation with them.

A second mother said: “There are a lot of concerned parents in the playground. Some people have written to the MP about it. They won’t remove it all until the summer, I think they should do it sooner rather than later.”

Mary Pattinson, head of Learning and Achievement, said: “We completely understand parents’ concerns about this. But we would like to stress that air and dust samples tested when the work was finished showed that the school buildings were safe for the children to use. Every test since then has shown the same. If we had any doubts about this, we would have closed the buildings at the start of term.

“To reassure parents, we will continue to undertake daily air tests before school starts and make the results available to parents. We will not be able to complete the removal of asbestos from the roof void until the school is closed for the summer. So until then we have taken the additional precaution of sealing the ceilings in the block – so we can assure all parents that the school continues to be safe for pupils to attend.”

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 19:31
Robert Gurling

Police have appealed for help to find a Romford man believed to have abducted his three-year-old son from his foster parents.

Yesterday, 19:35
Paul Freedman is applauded by other runners

A 90-year-old man who has raised more than £100,000 for St Francis Hospice since his wife Teeny’s death in 2007 was applauded by runners at the start line of last week’s London Marathon.

Yesterday, 13:06
A man was found unconscious outside Romford station yesterday.

An investigation has been launched after a man who suffered a blow to the head was found outside Romford station yesterday.

Yesterday, 12:00
Joseph Kavanagh, 16, of Heather Way, Collier Row, took part in a week long leadership academy at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama

A teenager had the experience of a lifetime at a space and rocket centre in America.

Most read news

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Two phones. Same phone case. Genius.

To celebrate the launch of the first luxury dual phone case, PearPeel, we are giving away two of the black leather Rocha cases, perfect for holding two iPhone 6 handsets.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder