Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott has criticised the city’s leading university for housing students in rooms containing asbestos.
Figures obtained by the Guardian newspaper found Cardiff University has around 1,500 student rooms containing the potentially lethal substance, which is the greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.
Ms Willott said that while the material in question is deemed to be low risk, it should be down to students and their families – not the university – to decide whether it is a risk worth taking.
The Liberal Democrat MP said she had written to Cardiff University asking them to explain why they are not refurbishing the rooms as a priority and why they took the decision not to inform residents that the substance was present.
She added: “I am greatly concerned not only at the extent of the asbestos present in university accommodation, but also that Cardiff University failed to warn their students about the potential dangers.”
A spokesman for the university said it was aware of the asbestos, adding: “All students have a responsibility to report damage and maintenance of any kind. This is communicated clearly to them in the terms and conditions of their contract with us.
“In addition, we carry out regular health and safety checks in each room, and annual checks are made by licensed contractors where asbestos has been identified. All appropriate staff receive asbestos awareness training.”
Vice-chancellor Prof Colin Riordan said: “I think this is something which effects any number of public buildings across the country and probably millions of people.
“It certainly effects every university that’s ever built anything up until 1985 – and that’s just about all of them. I’m confident that we comply with all the legal requirements and our students can be very confident that they are safe.”