A GWENT council has reported a clean bill of health for its school buildings amid concerns over potentially dangerous lightweight concrete.
The Welsh Government had last week asked local authorities for updated information on all school buildings to identify any risks from the concrete that had led to the closure of scores of schools in England and two in Wales, both on Anglesey.
Monmouthshire County Council has said its further assessment of school buildings has confirmed there is no RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) – the lightweight precast concrete that was commonly used in public sector buildings from the 1950s to 1990s – present in any of its schools.
In a statement leader Mary Ann Brocklesby said: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm that there is no suspect concrete in any of Monmouthshire’s schools. Our specialists teams have visited and surveyed sites where there was a potential risk, they have confirmed our initial assessments and we have shared this good news with the Welsh Government.”.
Last week the council had said it was confident the material wasn’t present in its schools but was conducting further checks of 12 buildings, including two boiler rooms, in line with the Welsh Government’s request.
The council had also confirmed, following a request by Monmouth MP David Davies, that the Welsh Government hadn’t previously specifically requested information on the now suspect concrete in schools.
The concrete is considered to have a 30-year lifespan and the Health and Safety Executive had said it is now “life-expired” and “liable to collapse with little or no notice”.
The Welsh Government has said it has been working with the UK Government, and other devolved governments, to manage buildings with the concrete since 2018 and that on August 31 the UK Government said new information about RAAC in schools, had emerged due to incidents over the summer, which meant the safety risk had increased. That led to the closure of a number of schools across England.
Mr Davies, who serves as the Welsh Secretary in the UK Government, had said it had been aware of the problems in England as it had requested information from schools in March last year.