The ‘UKIP Agriculture Policy: Overview’ published in March 2014 states that ‘UKIP will get rid of unnecessary regulations’ specifically including the ‘Hazardous’ classification of asbestos cement.
This alarming proposal is founded on the belief that white asbestos used in cement products and farm buildings nationwide is under ‘unnecessary regulations’. UKIP believe the HSE’s regulations for the handling and disposal of asbestos cement products as based on ‘totally false science’. UKIP are still in agreement that blue and brown asbestos should remain under strict control.
UKIP believe that the HSE incorrectly advised the UK Parliament in 1999 by calling for white asbestos and its products to be banned on the basis that it would kill up to 10,000 workers pa. They point out that this was contrary to their earlier published research in 1996 which showed that white asbestos cement posed a risk to health too small to be measured.
In 2013, MEP Steven Hughes represented the ban asbestos lobby and called for the removal of all asbestos containing materials in use within Europe.
UKIP believed these regulations to be ‘pointless and punitive’ which would have cost the UK farming industry alone around £6 billion in costs. The proposals were eventually rejected with 51 MEPs voting against the resolution. No action will now be taken by the European Parliament before 2028.
Although some may see the risks of white asbestos to ‘less dangerous’ than the blue and brown forms, the reduction in safety regulations may jeopardise the health of farmers in years to come.
The effects of asbestosis and mesothelioma, which often manifest many years after exposure to asbestos, devastate thousands of families every year in the UK.
The proposed declassification of asbestos cement to be ‘non-hazardous’ waste may save time and money in removal costs but no price can be placed on safeguarding public health and safety.
What do you think of these proposals? Are UKIP potentially putting the health of farm workers in danger by declassifying asbestos cement as non-hazardous?
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