Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Short term Government approach could lead to long term health problems

31 Mar 2014
APIL news

Ignoring an issue that is putting pupils and teachers at risk, is not an option, according to the not-for-profit campaign group, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

In a response to the Department for Education’s policy review on asbestos management in schools, which closes today, APIL argues that the health issues related to asbestos are not going to disappear if the substance is ignored. The association called for a strategic plan for asbestos removal and containment,the reintroduction of proactive inspections and clarity about who is responsible for asbestos risk in academies, free schools, private schools and nurseries.

“Children and those working in schools cannot be protected if the school is unaware of the location of the asbestos,” said Matthew Stockwell, president of APIL. “It is extremely important to locate the asbestos so the risks of exposure can be assessed regularly and managed, so a systematic plan for removal can be developed.”

Asbestos is present in 75 per cent of schools in England and 85 per cent of schools in Wales and there is no plan in place to deal with this, except to ignore the toxic substance and not disturb it. Asbestos exposure is not a visible risk as asbestos fibres cannot be seen, and the effects of exposure do not develop until many years later.

“All the asbestos in place is ageing and many school buildings are deteriorating” said Matthew. “With proactive Health and Safety Executive inspections cancelled since 2011, and school governors who may have no experience in this area now responsible for asbestos management, this could be a recipe for disaster.”


Notes to editors:


    APIL responded to the Department for Education’s policy review on asbestos management in schools in England and Wales. Read the association’s response here.


    The lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma is predicted to be five times greater for a child aged five compared to an adult first exposed at age 30.

  • Parliament published the number of mesothelioma deaths for males and females between 2002-2010, here.

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's press and communications officers Tim Carter t: 0115 943 5409, e: [email protected], or Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808 768623, e: [email protected].
  • Visit the association's website at
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter:

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Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
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Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
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Press & Communications Assistant
Asher Mayers-Thompson
0115 943 5431
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