Asbestos evacuation at Motherwell flats extended

MORE than 100 residents who were moved out of a block of flats when asbestos was disturbed by maintenance workers will remain out of their homes over the weekend.

North Lanarkshire Council moved all tenants from Anderson Tower in Motherwell as a precautionary measure after concerns were raised yesterday.

The substance is thought to have been disturbed during mains cabling replacement work which was being carried out at the tower by ScottishPower.

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The council said it ensured all tenants were accommodated overnight, with some in hotels, a number in temporary council accommodation and others staying with friends and family.

Some asbestos dust has been found in halls and lobbies, with clean-up work starting yesterday and continuing to Monday. Residents are unable to return until then.

“Tests have shown small amounts of asbestos dust in hall and hall cupboards as well as lift lobbies and one lift,” said Stephen Llewelyn, the council’s housing operations manager. “As a precautionary measure the contractor has been instructed to clean all halls and communal areas.

“Tenants will not be able to return to the building until we are satisfied that this is complete.

“We are confident that any risk is extremely low. Asbestos generally poses a health risk through exposure over a long period in high concentrations. What we have found is small areas of settled dust.

“We are working closely with ScottishPower, their contractors and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure all safety standards are met.”

Mr Llewelyn added that residents “fully appreciate” the efforts of council staff.

“We are very grateful to both the residents and their families for their support,” he said.

“Emptying a block of flats within the timescale was no easy task and we are pleased that, working with the tenants and their families, this was a textbook operation.”