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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Government is sued over asbestos
The government is being sued by a fire brigade for not warning firefighters about the dangers of asbestos.

Merseyside Fire Service has confirmed it has started legal proceedings against the government.

One of its firefighters, William Melling, died in July 2002 from an asbestos-related illness.

The brigade admitted liability for his death, but now says the government is equally to blame for not issuing guidelines early enough.

Asbestos use banned

The fire service is believed to have paid Mr Melling's family about 100,000 in damages after his death, and it wants the government to reimburse it 50,000.

Buildings were fire-proofed with asbestos in the 1950s and 1960s before its dangers were recognised and its use was banned.

Merseyside Fire Service has issued a writ against the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - the government department responsible for the fire service.

It said on Tuesday that it did not yet know if the writ had been issued, but could not comment if legal proceedings had begun.

Industry experts claim that more cases of firefighters suffering asbestos-related diseases could now come to light, and prompt more claims.

Asbestos compensation move urged
13 Aug 04  |  Scotland
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08 Feb 03  |  A-B


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