Investigation launched as tower residents return home

residents begin returning to their homes on Monday after Anderson Tower was given the all-clear.
residents begin returning to their homes on Monday after Anderson Tower was given the all-clear.

Tenants of Anderson Tower in Motherwell have returned to their homes after being evacuated following an asbestos scare.

More than 100 residents were decanted on Thursday when ScottishPower contractors disturbed asbestos while replacing mains cabling.

A clean-up operation of common areas and hallways started on Friday by a specialist asbestos contractor and continued through the weekend.

North Lanarkshire Council’s housing operations manager Stephen Llewellyn said: “Emptying an entire tower block within a few hours was unprecedented in the council’s history and it is to the credit of all our residents that it was carried out so smoothly.

“Residents were accommodated in hotels and council properties, while a number stayed with friends or relatives for the weekend.

“Housing and social work staff did their best to ensure those residents with special needs or medicinal care had their needs met.

“Meal and accommodation costs for those in hotels have been paid by ScottishPower’s contractor.

“The decision to allow residents to return to their homes was taken only after the council was satisfied the building had been properly deep-cleaned and test results showed clear.

“Works have also been carried out to seal areas where asbestos was disturbed.

“The health and well-being of our residents was paramount and we fully appreciate their understanding during this disruption.”

During the weekend, housing and social work staff carried out a number of briefing sessions, personal visits and letter drops, with all residents provided with contact and out-of-hours numbers if they required further information.

The council’s executive director of housing and social work Duncan Mackay said: “We prepare plans for almost every contingency in the hope they will never be required; this was one of those events.

“An investigation has already begun into the Anderson Tower incident and it would be inappropriate for the council to discuss events leading to the decant.

“However, I would like to pay tribute to all of our staff who worked long and hard on Thursday evening and through the weekend to ensure our residents were properly cared for.

“They performed magnificently.”