A tragic “sixth victim” of the attack

Damages agreed over death of police officer due to Brighton bombing asbestos

Two police forces have reached a settlement to pay compensation to the family of an officer who died as a result of contact with asbestos in the aftermath of the IRA’s bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the 1984 Conservative Party conference.

The BBC said it had received confirmation from Sussex Police that it had settled a claim involving a former Met Police officer in February. The claim amount was split between the London and Sussex forces, with a police spokesman stating that the exact figure had not been disclosed.

A tragic “sixth victim” of the attack

Jonathan Woods worked as a forensic officer, and was one of the first on the scene of the attack. His death was reported in December 2015, and last year, Sussex Police warned emergency workers who were present at the site that they could have been exposed to lethal asbestos fibres.

Five people died and 34 were injured in the blast aimed at then-Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet in October 1984, when party members were staying at the hotel. Following the alert from Sussex Police, lawyers for Mr Woods said he had been sifting through dust and rubble by hand at the site for 14 days, searching for evidence.

They described him as the attack’s “sixth victim”, adding that 14 other Met officers and 15 Sussex officers accompanied him, and would have therefore also theoretically come into contact with the now-banned and potentially fatal material.

The lawyers added, in a statement issued in June last year: “Hopefully the ambulance service crews and fire services who attended above ground would not have been exposed to the same extent.”

Although Sussex Police has been in contact with and sent letters to 154 people, it has said it has received no further legal claims. There has been no comment on the settlement from Mr Woods’ family and his legal representatives.

Another sad reminder of the continuing danger of asbestos

Although this case may relate to much more unusual circumstances than have been seen in many other recent high-profile asbestos cases, it is nonetheless another reminder of the deaths and devastation that continue to occur to families as a result of exposure to the fibres often dating back many decades.

It should also alert organisations and individuals alike of the importance of doing everything possible to lessen any asbestos risk that could be posed to users of their buildings today. If you are one of them, don’t hesitate to contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team now to learn more about our industry-leading asbestos air testing and related services.

 

 

 

 

The steady decline of a great historic pier

Fears that asbestos from Colwyn Bay pier could contaminate beach

Concerns have been voiced that the continued deterioration of the derelict Grade II-listed Colwyn Bay pier could lead to the beach becoming contaminated with asbestos, due to sheeting made from the lethal substance having been used in the construction of the main pavilion in the 1930s.

A report by Conwy County Borough Council said that the pier being hit by bad weather could cause the sheeting to break up, and that the structure should be dismantled as soon as possible. While the council owns the pier and approved plans to dismantle it in July, work cannot start until the go-ahead has also been given by the Welsh Government.

The steady decline of a great historic pier

The council is also unable to act on its plans until it has secured a marine licence from environmental body Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and fears that adverse weather may begin to hit the pier before this permission has been obtained.

The pier was first opened in 1900, but started to decline from the late 1980s and eventually closed in 2008. The structure began to collapse in February, with council engineers stating that the collapse of the sea end had weakened other sections. Parts of the pier have already been demolished as a safety measure.

Council warns of “rapidly deteriorating structure” 

According to an internal council report, released to BBC Wales as a result of a Freedom of Information request, “the strong impression remains of a rapidly deteriorating structure. The external walls of the pavilion were in a very poor condition when the deck was accessed some three to four years ago. It is surprising that they have not yet failed under wind load.

“If the walls fail, then a dominant opening would form, significantly increasing the wind pressure within the pavilion, leading to a high risk of the asbestos cement sheets being lost from the structure.”

With the asbestos sheeting having been known since its identification in a 2012 survey of the pier, the report added that the council had been considering how to clean the beach in the event of the pavilion’s collapse.

The Welsh Government said that it was assessing an application to dismantle the pier, while NRW confirmed it had received a marine licence application in relation to Colwyn Bay pier that was currently out to consultation. The body added that it “would consider any request to fast track a permit on a case by case basis.”

We are respected specialists in asbestos removal project management

Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we will certainly await with interest any further news on the fate of Colwyn Bay pier and what measures are taken to ensure the safe removal of any asbestos posing a danger to human health.

In the meantime, if your own organisation is in need of the services of acclaimed experts in the project management of asbestos removals, please contact the Trident Asbestos Solutions team on 03333 441 555 for a competitive quote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbestos left “where children play”

ITV News investigation reveals scale of problem of illegally dumped asbestos

While there are no asbestos removal companies that will be shocked by talk of fly-tipping of the lethal substance becoming an ever-more pressing problem, it is nonetheless vital to increase public awareness of the issue.

That’s why it interested us to read a recent ITV News report indicating that illegally dumped asbestos remains as widespread and dangerous as ever.

Asbestos left “where children play”

ITV News’ Consumer Editor Chris Choi has claimed that there is evidence of asbestos continuing to be left in places where it could greatly imperil human health, including “in places where children play and the public walk.”

He continued: “We have established that it is being unlawfully disposed of in parks, on footpaths, churchyards and near schools. Often, it is being dumped on an industrial scale by criminal gangs. Other cases are small scale domestic rubbish, but whatever the source, there is a clear danger.”

The report added that in response to freedom of information requests by ITV News, it was revealed that there had already been 3,222 asbestos fly-tipping incidents in 2017 – an about 14% rise over the last three years.

Despite most councils claiming to target the removal of an asbestos-contaminated site within five days, and some councils achieving this, Choi said that the potentially fatal fibres were not removed for up to three months in some cases.

He added that the cost each year of dealing with illegally dumped asbestos had now surpassed the £1 million mark.

Samples show a wide range of dumped asbestos

As part of its investigations, ITV News asked an expert in toxic waste to analyse samples taken from an illegal mega-dump at Colnbrook near Heathrow.

He found that this one site alone was home to at least five different examples of asbestos, ranging from a corrugated roof sheet and an asbestos insulating board to an asbestos fireplace, an asbestos fire surround and an asbestos cement sheet.

The evidence seems compelling: there simply must be much more done to ensure swift and safe asbestos removal and in the process, better guard the health of those who may inadvertently come into contact with its extremely harmful fibres.

Calls for a “new streamlined system”

A Local Government Association spokesperson commented in response to ITV News’ findings: “Dumping a toxic substance is the height of selfishness and stupidity… We need a new streamlined system which helps councils – one that is nimble, flexible and effective. Not only does fly-tipping create an eyesore for residents, it is also a serious public health risk, especially with toxic waste.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs commented:  “Fly-tipping is an unacceptable blight on our landscape, which is why we have cracked down on offenders by strengthening sentencing guidelines and giving councils the powers to hand out on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers.

“We have made it easier for vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping to be stopped, searched and seized and will continue to work with local partners to stop this inexcusable crime.”

Whatever your own views on how the ongoing threat of dumped asbestos on such sites continues to be handled, there can be little doubt that there is much more work to do. Don’t hesitate to contact Trident Asbestos Solutions today if you wish to take advantage of our in-depth expertise in safe, thorough and cost-effective asbestos removal at your own premises.

 

 

 

 

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