Poundland prosecuted for asbestos management failures

Published26th September 2022

Ipswich Borough Council’s Environmental Health team have successfully prosecuted Poundland for failing to manage asbestos at its building in Carr Street, Ipswich.

At Ipswich Crown Court on 23 September 2022 Poundland Limited was fined £565,000.00 with £75,000.00 costs to Ipswich Borough Council as well as a Victim Surcharge of £15.00. by Mr Recorder Basu KC for a series of asbestos management failures between 2011 and 2018.

In 2011 Poundland took on the former Woolworths store. Before this date, the company hired asbestos consultants to survey the building, which found asbestos, of more than one type, in several locations.

Although the company had consultants back to the store annually to monitor the locations, Poundland did not formulate a proper asbestos management plan for staff and visitors to the store of the precautions they needed to take in areas to ensure that the asbestos remained in a safe condition, which the law also requires.

Councillor Alasdair Ross, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection and Health at Ipswich Borough Council, says:

“This case shows how important it is for even the largest businesses to take seriously their legal requirement to manage asbestos in premises they use. Asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers each year, this is more than the number of people killed on roads.

“Ipswich Borough Council, as the local enforcement authority for health and safety, is committed to working with businesses to meet their legal duties. In cases of serious and long-standing failure where identified shortcomings are not corrected in a timely manner, Ipswich Borough Council will take enforcement action, even if that means bringing a criminal prosecution as we did in this case.”