Evacuation needn’t have happened

Anderson Tower had to be evacuated while the asbestos was cleaned up
Anderson Tower had to be evacuated while the asbestos was cleaned up

Now residents of Anderson Tower in Motherwell are back in their homes questions are being asked as to why they had to be evacuated.

Earlier this month over 100 people from 60 flats were decanted for five days after contractors working for ScottishPower disturbed asbestos while replacing mains cabling.

The same situation was narrowly avoided at nearby Oakfield Tower after resident John Malone stopped contractors from drilling into walls in that block as he was aware of the asbestos.

He said: “Around five years ago North Lanarkshire Council sent out workers to fit a new intercom system and at that they found asbestos in the walls.

“At that time I went to the Motherwell Times about it and a story was printed so everyone should have been well aware of the presence of asbestos in the all the tower blocks as they were all built in the same manner.

“When the contractors came to drill here I stopped them as I knew they were going to disturb the asbestos and at that point they said they had just been drilling at Anderson Tower and it was evacuated soon after.

“All the residents knew about the asbestos and the council must have so I can’t think why the contractors did not have this knowledge before they started.”

A resident of Anderson Tower, who didn’t wish to be named, confirmed they knew about the asbestos being present too.

She said: “Outside my flat the wall is covered in cable raceway from when the council was doing work a few years ago so everyone was well aware of it.

“I realise some residents enjoyed their few days away, but it was not a happy experience for many of us and if the council knew about the asbestos why didn’t ScottishPower’s contractors and avoided this situation.”

ScottishPower and its contractor are being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive.

The council is not part of the investigation and says the relevant information was passed on and so also wants answers.

A spokesman said: “We share our tenants’ hopes that these and other questions will be answered during the course of the H&SE investigation of ScottishPower and its contractors.

“However, with the inquiry underway, it would be inappropriate to comment further at present.”