Asbestos was removed from 25 public buildings in Buckinghamshire, law firm Irwin Mitchell can reveal.

The legal experts, who support clients affected by exposure to asbestos, previously published data from the councils confirming the number of public buildings containing the hazardous substance.

The total number at the time was 4,533, with 712 across Buckinghamshire, according to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The data, for the financial years 2017/18 to 2021/22, was released last April after the Government rejected a 40-year deadline recommended by MPs and the Work and Pensions Select Committee for the removal of asbestos from the estimated 300,000 public and commercial buildings which still contain it.

Now, one year on, updated information requested by the law firm from the same 20 councils reveals that 258 public buildings had asbestos removed in the last 12 months. This compares to 291 removals undertaken in the five previous years.

The data includes a large number of schools, as well as museums, community centres, leisure facilities and libraries, among others.

Guy Darlaston, an asbestos and occupational disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Our research last year highlighted how asbestos continues to pose a very real risk across the UK, not only to those working in industrial settings, but also in buildings used regularly by members of the public and public sector employees.

“Through our work, we’re sadly all too familiar with the devastating impact that asbestos can have. We remain deeply concerned that enough isn’t being done to eradicate the harmful substance from these buildings.

“Schools continue to be one of the main areas affected, and it’s incredibly worrying that children may be coming into contact with asbestos as they are particularly susceptible. Whilst we welcome the councils’ recent efforts, with a large percentage of last year’s removals involving schools, there are still far too many buildings containing the material which, once disturbed or requiring reparatory work, can become highly dangerous.

“We’re therefore renewing our call to the Government to do more to keep people safe.”

Further information reveals the Buckinghamshire Council spent £280,000 on the removing asbestos.

Liz Darlison, CEO at Mesothelioma UK, said: “The ongoing presents of asbestos in UK public buildings is a huge concern; the number of education and health workers diagnosed with mesothelioma is unforgivable. 

"No one should be living with an avoidable occupational cancer in today’s UK.  The current approach to managing asbestos has to be updated; so many lives could be saved.”