MORE than 130 buildings owned by Wirral Council –  including 55 schools- currently contain toxic asbestos.

The figures were revealed in a Freedom of Information request and highlights the scale of issue facing the local authority as it continues to manage the toxic substance 24 years after it was banned.

Asbestos is a material that was used in construction to strengthen, insulate, and fireproof materials but it was banned in all forms in the United Kingdom by 1999.

If inhaled, asbestos fibres can become trapped in the body and lead to diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has a 2% survival rate.

Around 5,000 people are still killed by asbestos every year in the UK including 20 tradesmen every week according to government agency the Health and Safety Executive. Despite the ban, it’s believed 1.5m buildings across the UK still contain it.

The council-owned buildings containing asbestos on the Wirral include Birkenhead and Wallasey Town Halls, Woodchurch Leisure Centre, Birkenhead Market, The Oval Sports centre, a number of libraries, and cemeteries.

Removing asbestos that is in a safe condition goes against current regulations but Wirral Council said it carries out regular inspections to assess the condition of any asbestos in its buildings.

It said: “Asbestos is only removed if the risk is high and could affect people’s health or through a refurbishment plan or because of demolition.”

A spokesperson for Wirral Council added: “Wirral Council has a large number of properties in which asbestos was installed prior to 2000. As these properties are refurbished and developed, asbestos management planning is required to ensure they are safe for building users. The council has commissioned a new contractor to support continued compliance of Health and Safety Legislation.”

In April 2023, Wirral Council awarded a two year contract to Envirocall Ltdn to deal with any asbestos removal over the next two years which is expected to cost around £75,000 a year and taken out of the council’s capital budget.

The local authority said: “As these properties are refurbished and developed, asbestos treatment in the form of encapsulation and removal is necessary to ensure a safe workplace for employees and non-employees.

“The tender covers the works required to address emergencies involving the release of unidentified asbestos fibres, as well as planned refurbishment works with identified asbestos. The tender ensures asbestos is managed correctly and accordingly in line with current Health and Safety Legislation.”

A full list of the buildings containing asbestos:

Barnston Primary School

Bidston Avenue Primary School

Black Horse Hill Infant School

Black Horse Hill Junior School

Brackenwood Infant School

Brookdale Primary School

Brookhurst Primary School

Castleway Primary School

Cathcart Street Primary School

Clare Mount Specialist Sports College

Devonshire Park Primary School

Eastway Primary School

Elleray Park School (Satellite)

Fender Primary School

Ganneys Meadow Nursery School & Family Centre

Gilbrook School

Greasby Infant School

Greenleas Primary School

Grove Street Primary School

Hayfield School

Heswall Primary School

Heygarth Primary School

Hillside Primary School

Irby Primary School

Kilgarth School

Kingsway Primary School

Lingham Primary School

Liscard Primary School

Manor Primary School

Meadowside School

Mendell Primary School

Mersey Park Primary School

Mount Primary School

Orrets Meadow School

Overchurch Infant School

Overchurch Junior School

Pensby High School

Prenton Primary School

Raeburn Primary School

Riverside Primary School

Sandbrook Primary School

Somerville Nursery School

Somerville Primary School

St George’s Primary School (Lower Site)

St George’s Primary School (Upper Site)

The Co-op Academy Woodslee

The Mosslands School

The Observatory School – Leasowe Campus

The Observatory School – Vyner Campus

Thingwall Primary School

Thornton Hough Primary School

Well Lane Primary School

Wirral Hospitals School

Woodchurch Road Primary School

Woodlands Primary School

Arrowe Country Park

Bebington Cemetery

Bebington Civic Centre

Birkenhead Central Library

Birkenhead Market

Birkenhead Town Hall (Grade II*)

Bromborough Civic Centre and Library

Brotherton Park and Dibbinsdale Local Nature Reserve

Central Park

Cheshire Lines Building

Cleveland Street Depot

Conway Centre (Grade II)

Dale Farm (site of)

Devon Gardens Resource Centre

Dock Road Depot

Eastham Centre

Eastham Country Park

Eastham Library

Ebenezer Street 12-14 Workshops

Frankby Cemetery

Garden Lane Public Conveniences

Gautby Road Play & Community Centre

Hamilton Building

Harrison Park

Heswall Centre

Heswall Library

Highcroft Day Centre

Higher Bebington Library

Hilbre Island Local Nature Reserve

B009 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 11

B006 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 06

B007 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 07

B008 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 09

B001 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 01

B003 Holborn Square Industrial Estate Unit 03

Hoylake Library

Hoylake Municipal Golf Course

Irby Library

Ivy Farm Depot (site of)

B003 Kelvin Court Unit 03

B001 Kelvinside Unit 10

B002 Kelvinside Unit 12

B003 Kelvinside Unit 14

Kings Parade Look-Out Station

Landican Cemetery

Leasowe Recreation Centre

Liscard Municipal Building

Mayfields Playing Fields

Moreton Library

Newton Park

Pilgrim Street Arts and Drama Centre

Plymyard Playing Fields

Poll Hill Bowling Green

Prenton Library

Ridgewood Park

Sandford Street 5

Saughall Grange Recreation Ground

Seacombe Library

Solar Campus

Tam O Shanter Urban Farm

Taylor Street Tram Shed (Wirral Transport Museum)

The Grange

The Oval Sports Centre

The Village 65

Treasury Building

Upton Library

Wallacre Recreation Ground

Wallasey Central Library

Wallasey Town Hall (Grade II)

Wallasey Village Library

Warren Farm Depot

West Kirby Concourse

Williamson Art Gallery & Museum (Grade II)

B033 Wirral Business Centre Unit 30

B034 Wirral Business Centre Unit 31

B036 Wirral Business Centre Unit 33

Wirral Country Park

Woodchurch Leisure Centre

Woodhead Street Public Conveniences