No link between school campus and ill health

9 August 2019, 11:12

St Ambrose and Buchanan Highs
St Ambrose and Buchanan Highs. Picture: Stationed Owned

Tests carried out at a school campus built on a former landfill site have found no link to ill health.

An independent review into the Buchanan and St Ambrose High School campus at Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, has concluded the schools are safe to attend.

Water samples taken at the site pass all quality standards and the methane membrane under the school building was installed correctly and no landfill related gases were detected, the report published on Friday said.

The investigation was ordered after parents and teachers spoke of blue water coming from taps at the schools, and expressed fears of a link between possible exposure to chemicals and illness among staff and pupils.

Tests found the concentration of contaminants measured in soil samples were not of concern, with the exception of elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at one location.

The review, co-led by public health consultant Dr Margaret Hannah, recommended North Lanarkshire Council completes a "full and independently verified removal of the chemical" as soon as possible.

The review said it would support the reopening of the schools at the start of the new term on Monday.

Dr Hannah said: "Our principal finding is that the schools are safe, the site is safe and there is no link between the school and the reported health issues.

"However we have made recommendations for some work to be carried out in order to provide further public reassurance."

Robert Steenson, executive director for enterprise and communities at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "We are pleased that the independent review agrees with the council's position throughout, which is that the schools are safe and that there is no link between the schools and any serious illness.

"We look forward to welcoming pupils back for the start of the term next week to what are outstanding, high-performing schools with enthusiastic and dedicated staff."