‘Lumps’ of asbestos accidentally dumped at Stonehenge

Stonehenge

It pains our team here at Trident Surveying to read about situations in the news in which there seems to have been a dire lack of asbestos awareness training. That was the case again the other day, concerning a very high-profile site beloved of people across the United Kingdom and the world. That site was the iconic Stonehenge, where a visitor centre has recently been built.

It was during work on this £27 million project that asbestos was accidentally brought to the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, according to reports in the Daily Mail and other newspapers. Part of a road next to the ancient monument was grassed over by contaminated topsoil, forcing contractors clad in protective clothing to work through the night to eradicate the lethal substance.

A source stated that workers were bringing in topsoil to cover over a section of the former A344 when they encountered “significant lumps” of asbestos – “about the size of bricks.” This source added that “There was a massive disagreement between English Heritage and the engineering firms involved in the contract because it caused a lot of hold ups.” A further £100,000 was reportedly spent to remove the asbestos with special equipment.

The source also claimed that the corrective work was undertaken at night out of a desire to avoid publicity. This was denied by an English Heritage spokesman, who insisted that “There was no cover up in any sense – we had no option but to carry out the work outside visitor opening times. The road runs directly past the circle, about 40 yards away, so there was no way we could have done it in the daytime.” He added that only a “small amount” of asbestos was discovered, with no risk posed to the public.

Whatever the truth of the matter, many observers will doubtless be shocked by the revelation of asbestos being deposited – however accidentally – in such close proximity to this adored and important landmark. The news was declared “an absolute scandal” by environmental campaigner Jason Addy, and when stories like these emerge, there’s certainly no doubt about the continuing relevance of asbestos awareness training for all manner of UK organisations and businesses.

Asbestos Action charity holds 13th annual conference

JUAC

The team at charity Asbestos Action recently held their 13th annual conference in Dundee, Scotland, leading with a theme of “Asbestos is still with us”. The charity, which supports sufferers of asbestos-related disease as well as their families and carers, aimed with the conference to quash perceptions that asbestos was a remnant of the past affecting only former heavy industry workers.

Many UK people remain at risk of being exposed to asbestos. Despite the deadly substance being banned from use as a building material in the 1990s, it can still be found in buildings across the country, including many schools.

Keynote speaker Sarah Lyons is a senior officer at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and a member of the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), which has been working hard to spread awareness about school-based asbestos.

JUAC campaigns for the safe removal of asbestos from buildings used for educational purposes, with Ms Lyons revealing at the event that 44% of schools were unaware whether asbestos was present in their own buildings. The conference was sponsored by Digby Brown Solicitors, and the firm’s Nina Maxwell and Fraser Simpson talked about the latest challenges concerning the pursuit of civil claims related to asbestos.

Mr Simpson said there needed “to be recognition of the risks that asbestos poses, not just to those employed previously in heavy industry and construction, but also to those exposed to asbestos in our schools, hospitals and elsewhere, and a commitment to doing everything possible to eliminate those risks.”

If you are concerned that your school, college or business premises might contain asbestos, please get in touch with Trident Surveying today. We are a UKAS accredited asbestos testing service that can confirm whether asbestos is present in your building via asbestos air testing and other procedures.

The laboratory that we use to test materials found during the surveying process is a state-of-the-art facility, where we conduct detailed examinations by stereo microscope. Trident Surveying has an Edinburgh office, which better enables us to cater for all manner of Scottish businesses and organisations seeking to protect the health of employees or students and prevent future asbestos-related tragedies. Call our friendly and professional team today to find out more.

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