THE Welsh education minister has raised questions over whether local councils are dealing with asbestos properly in the wake of the Cwmcarn High School crisis.

Leighton Andrews said in a written statement to AMs that responses to a call to all local authorities to confirm they were undertaking their duties under law over asbestos, had been “varied”.

“As a consequence, and based upon, the responses received I do not feel sufficiently assured at this stage that local authorities are discharging their statutory duties to manage asbestos and have sufficient plans in place,” he wrote.

Mr Andrews said he will now ask councils that they ensure head teachers and governing bodies know and understand their obligations and duties, have reviewed the relevant insurance and are following provided guidance.

He added he has asked his own officials to work with others to address the matter urgently so “the management of asbestos and the safety of learners and teachers isn’t compromised.”

The statement also said it was not practical to remove asbestos from every school in Wales "on a blanket basis."

"The HSE has always maintained that the best approach for asbestos in sound condition and not likely to be damaged is to leave it well alone, protect it and manage it to prevent damage and exposure to asbestos," Mr Andrews wrote.

Mr Andrews spoke ahead of a debate on the issue due to take place in the Assembly on Tuesday, called by Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay.