The deadly legacy of the UK’s twentieth century use of asbestos continually comes to light with frequent regularity at court hearings.

Here at WeSolicitors, we try to keep you regularly informed with the latest asbestos advice, news, information and events on how asbestos exposure continues to blight the lives of the many ordinary men and women suffering with asbestosis disease or mesothelioma cancer in twenty first century Britain.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), regional, local and community organisations actively campaign on issues like asbestos in schools, asbestos flytipping, and the not infrequent lack of asbestos procedures or management in building projects. However, asbestos awareness issues may only reach the national headlines when judges deliver their verdicts overturning previous judgements at appeal hearings or when high profile names, events or places are involved…

London 2012…

With the London 2012 just one week away, it was only as recently as April that we highlighted a news report concerning an Olympic basketball training facility planned to be built on parkland at Leyton Marshes, north London. A local environmental group claimed the site was a post World War Two ‘land filled’ site contaminated with lead and asbestos and were attempting to halt the development.

In the article, we refer to the crucial point that, “Any building, commercial or residential, renovated or constructed prior to the late 1980s and early 1990s must always be suspected of being built with asbestos containing materials (ACMs)”. It is easily forgotten that white asbestos was still being used as an insulator in the building industry until its import was banned in 1999.

As so often seems to be the case today, “…the non-compliance with asbestos disposal regulations meant demolition waste was sent to landfill sites and can  still be found contaminating the soil, long after the landscaping over of a site to create a parkland amenity was carried out”. Read more on the Judge’s verdict in this case.

Buckingham Palace…

The presence of the toxic material can as easily be discovered residing in historic royal palaces as they can be found in the properties of ordinary home owners and housing estate tenants. At the same time the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was being celebrated in June, news stories were resurfacing on the £1 million it has so far cost to remove asbestos material, which was discovered in the ducts underneath the floor in the south wing of Buckingham Palace.

Originally a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 and later acquired as a royal residence by King George III in 1761, the last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the balcony used by the royal family on major public occasions. Asbestos was already in widespread use in the 1920s and 30s, which increased from the 1940s onwards.

It has been estimated that the cost of the additional work to remove the remainder of the asbestos from the palace will probably reach several millions of pounds and may take up to twenty years.

The HSE forecast that 5,000 people will die from asbestos exposure each year by 2015 and a further 45,000 mesothelioma deaths can be expected by 2050.