THE local MP is calling for more stringent checks for asbestos in older schools in the area, including Largs Academy.

Katy Clark, Labour MP for North Ayrshire, sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Occupational Safety and Health.

The APPG recently released a revised report on the levels of asbestos that are still to be found in schools across Britain, with recommendations about how to deal with this problem.

Speaking about the report, Katy Clark said: “It has again raised the problem of asbestos in schools. It reveals that over 75% of schools in Britain are believed to have asbestos in their structure, and that this poses a very real danger to staff, pupils and visitors, as well as other workers who deal with building maintenance.

"This will obviously be a concern for anyone who has attended schools throughout North Ayrshire.

“While I am aware that the council do have procedures in place to record the levels of asbestos in all of their properties, the APPG report goes further, and makes several recommendations as to how this matter should be dealt with. "The report stated that the Government should set a programme for the phased removal of asbestos from all schools, with priority being given to those schools where the asbestos is considered to be most dangerous or damaged." Standards in asbestos training should be set and the training should be mandatory and properly funded, it also stated.

The report suggested a trial should take place to perfect a system of widespread air sampling in schools.

A policy of openness should be adopted, according to the report, and ‘parents, teachers and support staff should be annually updated on the presence of asbestos in their schools and the measures that are being taken to manage it’.

And one of the other findings was that pro-active inspections to determine the standards of asbestos management should be reinstated, with a view to reducing future costs.

Ms Clark said: “As education is a devolved matter, I will be writing to Mike Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Scottish Government to ask what steps, if any, they are taking to implement these recommendations.

" I will also be writing to Cllr John Bruce, who is the education portfolio holder at North Ayrshire Council to confirm exactly what procedures are in place to deal with asbestos at present, and whether they are working with the Scottish Government to end the risk of asbestos exposure in our schools.”