Waltham Forest Council fined £66,000 over asbestos failings

Waltham Forest Town Hall Image copyright Google
Image caption The case against Waltham Forest Council was brought by the Health and Safety Executive

An east London council has been fined £66,000 for failing to control employees' exposure to asbestos in their town hall basement.

Waltham Forest council was also told to pay £16,000 in costs for contravening health and safety guidelines.

The council said it "fully accepted" it should have done more at the time.

In January the council pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Control of Asbestos regulations.

The council was issued with the fine on Friday at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to the charges at Westminster Magistrates Court in January.

Image copyright Unison
Image caption Unison claims its members took these pictures of asbestos in the basement of Waltham Forest Council Town Hall

In a statement, a Waltham Forest council spokesperson said: "We fully accept that the council should have done more in the past to manage the safety of our buildings.

"Throughout this process we have taken the matter extremely seriously, and we have been working with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that nothing like this happens in the future."

The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive and related to two incidents in November 2006 and two more in January 2009.

Unison said the issue was discovered when a local resident was refused access to requested files because of the risk of exposure to asbestos dust.

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