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The demolition of a Victorian school in Shefford has sparked outrage in the local community due to fears of asbestos contamination.

When developers recently demolished the old Shefford Lower School buildings neighbours reported that the dust cloud was higher than the school itself, and fears were expressed about the potential risk of asbestos poisoning as a result of the dust. Two nearby schools were forced to close for two days after the event to ensure that no asbestos was prevalent in the area.

A local resident explained how he had seen a worker on a JCB digger, without any protective equipment, knocking down the former school on a Saturday morning. When he asked the worker about the legality of the demolition he claims he was laughed at. A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said that although the developer had followed correct procedure in terms of the asbestos removal prior to the demolition, they had failed to follow the correct process in terms of planning permission for the demolition.

Asbestos was used as a building material for many years before its use was banned due to safety fears. When intact it is fairly safe, and so undisturbed asbestos is not treated as very dangerous. The danger comes when the material is broken up; either through demolition or redevelopment of buildings that could contain it. The fibres of asbestos are incredibly small and can become lodged into the lungs of anyone who breathes them in, leading to range of lung conditions including asbestosis, Mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Employers have a duty of care to protect their workforce from the dangers of asbestos, but alongside that responsibility they have a duty not to endanger the health of the public. For that reason the removal of asbestos is highly specialised, and only those with suitable training and protective equipment can undertake its removal from any premises.

If you or someone you care for has been exposed to asbestos either as part of their employment or through any situation that was not their fault, it is quite possible that you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Our solicitors have many years of experience in handling cases of asbestos exposure and the dangers that can lie ahead for those who have been exposed to it. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.