All of Scotland’s political parties are being urged to pledge to remove potentially deadly asbestos from all of the country’s public buildings.
Campaigners at Action on Asbestos made the plea to leaders ahead of next week’s Scottish Parliament elections.
Chief executive Phyllis Craig said research in 2017 had revealed the substance was in more than 1,600 school buildings in Scotland.
She demanded: “The question of asbestos in our schools, hospitals and public buildings must be addressed by the politicians before the May elections.”
Action on Asbestos – which was formerly known as Clydeside Action on Asbestos – wants all parties standing for election to commit to a phased removal programme, encompassing all public buildings affected.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Scotland, the charity had been campaigning on this issue with the support of trade unions in Scotland.
The pandemic meant work on this was put on hold, but Action on Asbestos wants to resume talks with political leaders to try to prevent further deaths from asbestos-related illness.
It reports seeing increasing cases of mesothelioma lung cancer in people who it believes were very likely exposed to asbestos while working in schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
Gary Smith, of the GMB Scotland union and chair of Action on Asbestos, said: “Thousands of men and women have died through no fault of their own because of exposure to asbestos.
“To leave asbestos in places such as schools is of grave concern. Asbestos has cost so many lives and damaged so many more, it’s outrageous that there is not a planned programme of removal.”