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Firm fined £10k for demolition asbestos breach

Berry Estates Development Limited has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391 for failing to carry out work correctly or properly manage asbestos while demolishing an old church in Snodland, Kent.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard that a member of the public complained to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about demolition works taking place on the corner of Holborough Road in the town.

Berry Estates Development Limited, of Red Hill, Wateringbury, Maidstone, Kent, admitted breaching Regulations 5, 7 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, while company director Bernard Berry also pleaded guilty to breaching the same regulations and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,391.

Berry could not provide a demolition plan, method statements or risk assessments when asked by HSE investigators, who also discovered that no asbestos survey had been completed prior to the demolition and site security was very poor.

The HSE investigation also discovered that the building was being knocked into pedestrian areas and broken up with an excavator.

It could find no evidence of employee training, no personal protection or respiratory equipment and no plan of work on site. It also revealed no provision to prevent dust spreading during demolition and crushing.

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