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Developer prosecuted for asbestos failings

A Nottinghamshire property developer who pleaded guilty to exposing employees to asbestos has been given an eight-month suspended prison sentence and been ordered to pay fines and costs of £100,000.

Nottingham Crown Court was told today that James Roger Carlton, also known as Roger Stephen Parry, 64, of Meeting House Lane, South Leverton, disregarded the presence of asbestos insulation board at the site of the former King Edward VI School on London Road, Retford.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the school, which was being converted into a retirement complex, on 1 March 2012 during a construction safety initiative.

An inspector identified the type of building which is known to contain asbestos, and gave Mr Carlton advice on what he needed to do to comply with the relevant legislation surrounding its removal.

Eight days later, on 9 March, a complaint was received by HSE from a member of the public advising that the asbestos was not being removed properly.

Mr Carlton, trading as Heathcliff Developments, was told to have surveys carried out and to arrange for the licensed removal of the material.

However, when inspectors re-visited the site on 17 May they found building rubble containing asbestos that had not been properly disposed off in this way.

A Prohibition Notice was immediately served to stop all work with, or liable to disturb, the material asbestos and a direction to ‘Leave Undisturbed’ was imposed on the piles of contaminated rubble.

HSE inspectors made a third unannounced visit on 13 October and found workers in breach of the Prohibition Notice.

Mr Carlton pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and 10 breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 - 12 charges in total - at an earlier hearing.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for the breach of the Prohibition notice. He was also fined £55,000 and ordered to pay a further £45,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: “Asbestos is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK.

“Building owners and contractors have a duty to ensure they protect their workers from risk of exposure. Mr Carlton failed in that duty by choosing to ignore the dangers of this hidden killer.”

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