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Committee publishes Government response to asbestos management report

21 July 2022

The Work and Pensions Committee publishes the Government response to its report on the Health and Safety Executive’s approach to asbestos management.

In the response, the Government rejects the Committee’s key recommendation of committing to a strategy with a 40-year deadline to remove all asbestos from public and commercial buildings.

Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“The Government argues that fixing a deadline for asbestos removal would increase the opportunity for exposure, but the risk is likely to increase anyway with the drive towards retrofitting of buildings to meet net zero aspirations. Setting a clear target should just be one part of a new properly joined-up strategy. This strategy should prioritise the highest-risk buildings and urgently boost the evidence base for the safe removal and disposal of a material that is still the single greatest cause of work-related fatalities in the country.”

The report, published in April, highlighted how despite asbestos being banned more than two decades ago, the material remains in around 300,000 non-domestic buildings. There were more than 5,000 asbestos-related deaths in 2019, including from cancers such as mesothelioma.

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