Gloucestershire

'Health fears' over Ashchurch MoD base asbestos

Defence Equipment & Support, Ashchurch Image copyright Google
Image caption Unite said guards were required to patrol the base on foot or in vehicles

Security guards at a Ministry of Defence (MoD) site are being potentially exposed to asbestos, a union has claimed.

Unite said it had "serious concerns" about the safety of guards on patrol at Ashchurch military base in Tewkesbury.

The union claimed most of the site had been "shut down" and staff placed on indefinite leave after asbestos was discovered.

The MoD said "precautionary measures" had been taken to protect staff.

A spokesman said the MoD had not placed anyone on indefinite leave but some staff were on leave while clean-up activities were being carried out, and others had been temporarily relocated.

Unite spokeswoman Caren Evans said guards had "serious concerns" their health was being put at risk because they were required to patrol the base on foot or in vehicles.

Ms Evans said: "Requiring MoD guards to continue to patrol a site which is otherwise shut down owing to asbestos contamination is alarming.

"No worker should be placed in harm's way."

The MoD spokesman said: "The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are taking a number of sensible, precautionary measures to safeguard workers while we implement plans to remove asbestos and clean affected areas."

He said further testing was under way to establish the extent of the problem.

The Defence Equipment and Support site in Gloucestershire is used for long-term storage and distribution of military vehicles.

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