YEP Says, October 13: We can’t afford to risk our children’s health on asbestos

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...and the six-year plan to tackle elderly loneliness

LEEDS knows only too well the terrible suffering that exposure to asbestos can cause.

For years the JW Roberts factory in Armley spewed out the deadly dust, with thousands dying of asbestos-related mesothelioma.

So the revelation that nearly three-quarters of schools in Leeds contain asbestos will be a cause of real concern for parents.

Education chiefs are right when they say the material is not harmful if it is correctly managed and monitored.

However, this places a huge onus on making sure there are stringent guidelines in place when it comes to making sure that asbestos fibres remain undisturbed.

And the scale of the challenge facing schools is underlined by the fact that 140 UK teachers have died from mesothelioma in the past decade, apparently caused by basic things like putting up displays with drawing pins.

Though costly, surely the Government should now begin the phased removal of all asbestos from schools, with priority given to those schools with asbestos in the worst condition.

In the meantime, every school should be required by law to carry out a thorough asbestos survey which includes air tests.

At the end of the day, it’s simply not worth taking the risk with our children’s health.

Six-year plan to tackle elderly loneliness

GIVEN the numbers of older people in Leeds whose health stands to be put at risk due to loneliness, it’s not an issue that’s going to be fixed overnight.

However, the £6m of lottery cash that will fund a new city-wide project over the next six years will help to make some serious inroads.

Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine will offer training to spot signs of loneliness, help older people find friends and encourage more community and volunteer groups to set up to offer support.

It’s not a magic bullet – but it’s an important step in the right direction.