'Serious Concerns' Over Asbestos At Military Site

The substance has been found on surfaces and equipment used at the Ashchurch premises.


Asbestos has been found at MOD Ashchurch in Gloucestershire (Picture: Google Earth).

A union says it has "serious concerns" after the discovery of asbestos at a military site in Gloucestershire forced some members of staff to be temporarily relocated.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) told Forces News a full investigation was underway after the material was found in buildings, surfaces and equipment at the Defence Equipment and Support site in Ashchurch.

A number of buildings have been closed to allow cleanup activities to be completed, the MOD added.

Asbestos, an insulating material, was used in buildings between the 1940s and 1970s and is linked to causing cancer. 

Workers' union Unite said they had "serious concerns" that members of staff are being "potentially exposed".

Caren Evans from the union said: "Requiring MOD guards to continue to patrol a site which is otherwise shutdown owing to asbestos contamination is alarming.

“The fact that workers have to change their boots clearly indicates there is a risk of further contamination; no worker should be placed in harm’s way.

“Changing boots does not protect workers from breathing in asbestos which can have fatal consequences."

The MOD confirmed guards are being asked to remove their boots and that "further testing" is underway to establish the extent of the problem. 

An MOD spokesperson said: “The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are taking a number of sensible, precautionary measures to safeguard workers while we implement plans to remove asbestos and clean affected areas.”

The Defence Equipment and Support site is used for long-term storage and distribution of military vehicles.