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14 September 2023

By James

Category: Industry

Hackney issues a warning: Asbestos is found in two-thirds of its council homes

Hackney Council has issued a cautionary notice regarding the presence of asbestos in approximately two-thirds of its council-owned properties. Residents are strongly encouraged to contact the Town Hall before embarking on any DIY projects within their homes. Donna Bryce, Head of Resident Safety, clarified to council members that the prevalence of properties with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) is typical for housing stock of Hackney's age, as discussed during a recent meeting.

Additionally, the council is actively working on an online portal for residents to access surveys and management plans. Moreover, all staff members have undergone asbestos management training to ensure that inquiries are addressed promptly and efficiently.

Donna Bryce, Head of Resident Safety stated: "Key for us is making sure that residents don't always have to ring us up, they can go straight on to a database and get the information for themselves.”

"We've got so many houses, so we're saying to tenants, if you are going to do any works, give us a ring and we can tell you where your asbestos is, if it's there."

Asbestos-containing building materials were extensively used until the 1980s and were officially banned in 1999. Recently, there has been a decrease in reports of asbestos being disturbed or damaged, but there has been a significant rise in reports suspecting its presence.

Undisturbed asbestos is generally considered to pose minimal health risks. However, when products containing asbestos are sanded or drilled, harmful fibres can become airborne. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are typically left in place if they are in good condition and only removed if there is a likelihood of disturbance due to repairs, improvements, or alterations.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres can lead to asbestosis, a severe and incurable lung condition that significantly increases the risk of lung cancer. Asbestos can be found in various forms, including boiler insulation, textured wall and ceiling coatings, or panels located behind radiators.

Labour Councillor for Kings Park Sharon Patrick said: "It's great we're training our operatives, but I'm sure there will be many occasions where tenants are drilling through asbestos, because they don't know where it is.

"We need to make sure that tenants, residents and freeholders know where it is in their property. I would hate for anybody to get ill by drilling through it and not knowing. Most people aren't thinking about it if they're doing things to their properties to make it a bit better."

For more on asbestos in the Hackney Council Area.

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