The exposure of a Lincolnshire family to dangerous levels of asbestos dust has led to the prosecution of Blankney Estates, the company that rented the property, for committing health and safety offences.
Blankney Estates Ltd did not manage adequately what were clearly deteriorating asbestos materials, and did not ensure that work within the Scopwick property to remove an asbestos-lagged tank was properly planned and carried out safely by competent contractors.
Also fined were plumbing company Michael Grace Ltd and Adam and John Thurlby, who were directors of a family-owned demolition company ART Dismantling Co Ltd. These defendants were prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2006 when they worked on removing the tank from the house.
Farming company Blankney Estates Ltd, registered address of Pannell House, Charles Street, Leicester, but with its main operations in Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
It was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs. HSE said it failed in its Section 3 duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the premises were safe and to ensure that the work to remove the tank was done safely.
Adam Robert Thurlby, of Sandhill Road, Farndon, Newark, Nottinghamshire, and John Thurlby, of Malt Kiln Lane, Eagle Moor, Lincoln, also pleaded guilty. They were each fined £12,500 and were each ordered to pay £7,500 costs for contravening five CAR Regulations while acting as directors of ART Dismantling.
Michael Grace Ltd, registered address of St John Street, London, but trading locally in Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to three CAR offences and was fined £10,000 plus £5,000 in costs.
Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 and causes around 5,000 deaths every year, according to HSE.
The Executive’s website, www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos, provides information on asbestos and how to manage the risks associated with it.