Clydebank's MSP has told the Scottish Parliament now is the time to remove asbestos from schools across the country to avoid 'further exposure' to cancers related to the material.

The SNP's Marie McNair used her members' debate at Holyrood last week to call for the phased removal of asbestos from all public buildings in Scotland.

Ms McNair also urged for an overhaul of the compensation process, with some victims unable to claim compensation from asbestos-related illness due to the three-year diagnosis time bar.

She said: “Hearing accounts from people as young as 30, with no connection to heavy industry, contracting mesothelioma shows that we must act to remove asbestos from our built environment – particularly our schools.

“I felt it was important to secure this member’s debate and push for action not just on this, but also on the need to correct the injustices being faced by those waiting for compensation.

“I am urging all levels of Government to work together to see these wrongs righted. Over 5000 people a year die from asbestos-related illness in the UK and we need more progress to help save lives.”

All asbestos use was banned in 1999, however, it remains present in over 1700 school buildings across Scotland.

For many, asbestos-related illness is linked to heavy industry workers.

However, recently people as young as 30 have been diagnosed with mesothelioma (asbestos-related cancer) despite having no experience in the industry.

Campaign groups, such as the Clydebank Asbestos Group, have been pushing for action on removing asbestos from buildings and fixing the current compensation scheme for those with an asbestos-related illness caused by workplace exposure.

As school buildings are the responsibility of local authorities, the Health and Safety Executive is reserved to Westminster, and educational funding is devolved to Holyrood, this project will require cooperation from all three levels of Government. 

Ms McNair highlighted to the Scottish parliament that the only way to avoid further exposure, and more being diagnosed with mesothelioma, is to eradicate asbestos from the built environment.