Publication - FOI/EIR release

Asbestos and Scottish Government estate buildings: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
7 Sep 2020
Asbestos and Scottish Government estate buildings: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202000067783
Date received: 17 Jul 2020
Date responded: 13 Aug 2020
Information requested

1. How many buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible are currently known to contain asbestos?

2. Of these, how many are:
i Schools
ii Municipal buildings
iii Construction or manufacturing sites (historic or active)
iv Residential properties

3. In the last three fiscal years, how many operations have been carried out to remove asbestos from buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?

4. In the last three fiscal years, how much money has been spent on operations to remove asbestos from buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?

5. How much money has been invested in health and pastoral support for those affected by asbestos in buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?

Response

Your email to Central Enquiries Unit asked that ‘the Scottish Government provide answers to the questions in relation to the buildings they are responsible for’ – the questions being those previously submitted in your request dated 14 July 2020 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) which is attached as Appendix A.

It may be helpful if I precede answers to your questions with a broad summary of the Scottish Government estate and the approach used to the management of asbestos. 
The estate comprises buildings and sites that are used to deliver the business of the core Scottish Government. These buildings are primarily offices. The estate does include a small number of other facilities that support the agriculture and marine sectors – such as the Marine Scotland Science campus in Aberdeen and a Bull Stud Farm at Knocknagael, Inverness. Some of the agricultural sites include a small number of cottages that are used by employees, agricultural tenants or housing tenants.

Your original request referred to ‘public buildings’. The Scottish Government estate does not include any buildings or sites to which the public have regular access. On occasion, visitors may attend for pre-arranged meetings when they would be accompanied.

All of the buildings on the core Scottish Government estate that were constructed at a time when asbestos was still in use as a building material have been surveyed and Asbestos Management Plans produced where appropriate. Each case is assessed individually and it is often recommended to be safer to leave asbestos in place than to remove it. This is often the approach followed by the Scottish Government. Our maintenance contractor regularly inspects areas of known asbestos to confirm that they have not been disturbed. Sometimes asbestos will be removed as part of wider building works.

On occasion, in addition to the core estate, the Scottish Government will assume temporary custodianship of a nationally significant building or site while options are developed for its future.

Returning to your enquiry, the headings below use the text of your original request modified to take account of your email of 17th July.

1. How many buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible are currently known to contain asbestos?
The Scottish Government has responsibility for 17 buildings that are currently known to contain asbestos.

2. Of these, how many are:
i Schools

As explained above, the Scottish Government estate does not include any schools.
ii Municipal buildings
Municipal buildings are those that belong to, or are operated on behalf of, a local authority. As a national government the Scottish Government does not have any municipal buildings.
iii Construction or manufacturing sites (historic or active)
The Scottish Government does not have responsibility for any construction or manufacturing sites (historic or active) that are currently known to contain asbestos.
iv Residential properties
The Scottish Government does not have responsibility for any residential properties that are currently known to contain asbestos.

3. In the last three fiscal years, how many operations have been carried out to remove asbestos from buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?
There have been seven works within the period specified that included the removal of asbestos.

4. In the last three fiscal years, how much money has been spent on operations to remove asbestos from buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?
The total amount spent on the removal of asbestos over the specified period is £10,487. This figure relates to five of the seven works noted at Question 3.

The costs of removing asbestos during the other two works are not known as they formed part of larger works.

5. How much money has been invested in health and pastoral support for those affected by asbestos in buildings for which the Scottish Government are responsible?
The Scottish Government is unaware of anybody having been affected by asbestos in a building for which it has responsibility and has no records of having spent any money on health or pastoral support in this regard.

Appendix A - Original request received on 14 July 2020
I’d like to know the answers to the following questions – if possible, please can the answers be broken down by council area? If this would result in too much money being spent on the work to handle this query then I am happy to accept nationwide totals.

1 – How many public buildings are currently known to contain asbestos?

2 – Of these, how many are:

Schools
Municipal buildings
Construction or manufacturing sites (historic or active)
Residential properties
3 – In the last three fiscal years, how many operations have been carried out to remove asbestos from public buildings?

4 – In the last three fiscal years, how much money has been spent on operations to remove asbestos from public buildings?

5 – How much money has been invested in health and pastoral support for those affected by asbestos?

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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