A FATHER-OF-TWO has had to wait nearly four months for a broken asbestos panel at his council flat to be replaced.
Darren Bishop, of Summerwood Road, Isleworth , broke a board above a cupboard door in his two-bedroom home before Christmas.
The 42-year-old claims to have reported the damage immediately, warning the panel contained asbestos, but is still waiting for it to be replaced.
Hounslow Homes, which manages the property on behalf of the council, insists the broken board has never presented any risk to Mr Bishop’s health or that of his family.
It has arranged for contractors to replace the broken panel, along with other asbestos panels in the property which are undamaged, on April 24.
However, Mr Bishop believes it should have been replaced sooner, given the potential danger posed by the highly carcinogenic substance, banned as a building material since 1999.
“I can’t understand why it’s taken so long to repair the panel while we’ve been exposed to such a dangerous substance,” said Mr Bishop, who lives in the flat with his partner Debbie Hamblin, a 37-year-old apprentice hairdresser, and their daughters, aged one and three.
“I’ve lived here for three years and I’m concerned about the effect on my health and that of my family. I would never have moved in had I known there was asbestos in the property.”
Asbestos can be found in many buildings and is not considered harmful unless disturbed.
However, Hounslow Council’s own website advises householders not to damage or disturb the heat-resistant material, estimated to be responsible for more than 4,700 deaths a year.
A Hounslow Homes spokeswoman said the panel was tested after the issue came to its attention and a licensed asbestos contractor visited the flat on March 5 to prepare a work plan.
She said other panels in the flat, also known to contain asbestos, were tested too but found to present ‘no risk’, while an air test confirmed the flat was fit for occupation.
“Hounslow Homes has a robust asbestos management programme and asbestos panels that remain undisturbed in a property present no risk,” she added.
“In the event that panels are damaged then tests are carried out and if they are deemed to pose a risk to individuals in the property they are removed in line with safety procedures.
“Asbestos panels are also removed should we carry out major refurbishment in properties.”