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Review ordered into 'blue water' school concerns Review ordered into 'blue water' school concerns
(32 minutes later)
An immediate review is to be carried out into health and safety concerns at two schools in Coatbridge following reports of blue water.An immediate review is to be carried out into health and safety concerns at two schools in Coatbridge following reports of blue water.
The Scottish government said the move was aimed at "assuring parents, pupils and staff that the shared Buchanan High and St Ambrose High campus is safe".The Scottish government said the move was aimed at "assuring parents, pupils and staff that the shared Buchanan High and St Ambrose High campus is safe".
The site was previously used to store industrial waste including lead and arsenic.The site was previously used to store industrial waste including lead and arsenic.
And concerns have been raised about possible contamination.And concerns have been raised about possible contamination.
North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire say there is no evidence of any serious illness linked to the schools or campus.North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire say there is no evidence of any serious illness linked to the schools or campus.
But at a heated public meeting last week, a health official was booed and met with cries of "liar" as he said that there was "no significant risk to health" from attending the schools.But at a heated public meeting last week, a health official was booed and met with cries of "liar" as he said that there was "no significant risk to health" from attending the schools.
The NASUWT union later announced that the 12 staff members it represents at Buchanan High - an additional support needs school catering for about 100 pupils - will go on strike next week over the concerns, which centre on "blue water" that has been seen coming from pipes.The NASUWT union later announced that the 12 staff members it represents at Buchanan High - an additional support needs school catering for about 100 pupils - will go on strike next week over the concerns, which centre on "blue water" that has been seen coming from pipes.
The Scottish government said on Wednesday it would now begin an "immediate, independent and impartial review" of the concerns that have been raised.The Scottish government said on Wednesday it would now begin an "immediate, independent and impartial review" of the concerns that have been raised.
It said the review, which was agreed with the council and health board, would be completed before the next school year begins in August.It said the review, which was agreed with the council and health board, would be completed before the next school year begins in August.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the council and NHS Lanarkshire had already done "extensive work" in an effort to address the concerns of the local community.Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the council and NHS Lanarkshire had already done "extensive work" in an effort to address the concerns of the local community.
He added: "However in light of continuing concerns being raised, ministers have agreed with North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire to immediately commission an impartial, independent review.He added: "However in light of continuing concerns being raised, ministers have agreed with North Lanarkshire Council and NHS Lanarkshire to immediately commission an impartial, independent review.
"This will assess existing evidence and determine if more needs to be done to further mitigate any concerns of pupils, their parents and staff and provide further reassurance to the local community.""This will assess existing evidence and determine if more needs to be done to further mitigate any concerns of pupils, their parents and staff and provide further reassurance to the local community."
The council has created a leaflet to provide further information and reassurance, which can be downloaded from its website and which will also be delivered to all parents and carers this week.The council has created a leaflet to provide further information and reassurance, which can be downloaded from its website and which will also be delivered to all parents and carers this week.
The review has been welcomed by the EIS teaching union, which has previously accused North Lanarkshire Council of doing "far too little, far too late" to address the concerns.
What has sparked the review?What has sparked the review?
The campus, which also includes the Townhead Road community centre, opened in 2012 on a site that was used as landfill for lead, arsenic and other industrial waste between 1945 and 1972.The campus, which also includes the Townhead Road community centre, opened in 2012 on a site that was used as landfill for lead, arsenic and other industrial waste between 1945 and 1972.
In March of last year, bottled water was used at the high schools after blue water was discovered coming from pipes, with tests later revealing higher than recommended levels of copper.In March of last year, bottled water was used at the high schools after blue water was discovered coming from pipes, with tests later revealing higher than recommended levels of copper.
Officials said this was due to corrosion, but insisted there was no health risk. Copper piping at the campus has since been replaced with plastic pipes.Officials said this was due to corrosion, but insisted there was no health risk. Copper piping at the campus has since been replaced with plastic pipes.
Fears about the safety of the site came to a head in recent weeks after it emerged that four former or current members of staff at Buchanan High had received treatment for cancer.Fears about the safety of the site came to a head in recent weeks after it emerged that four former or current members of staff at Buchanan High had received treatment for cancer.
However, the council and health board say specialist doctors have confirmed that no incidence of cancer - or any other serious illness - was caused by the schools or the site on which they were built.However, the council and health board say specialist doctors have confirmed that no incidence of cancer - or any other serious illness - was caused by the schools or the site on which they were built.
And they say that all of the evidence shows that the schools and the wider campus are safe.And they say that all of the evidence shows that the schools and the wider campus are safe.