A SWINDON lawyer called on government to step up efforts to strip out asbestos from schools, hospitals and other buildings.

The comments came as more than two dozen people came together in Queens Park to mark Mesothelioma Action Day. Among their number were those who had lost close family members to the lung cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos. White doves were released at the end of the memorial event.

Installation of asbestos was banned by the UK government two decades ago. But Jennifer Seavor, of lawyers Royds Withy King, called for further policy reform.

Speaking in Queens Park on Saturday morning, she said: “In my view the policy of management rather than removal of asbestos is not working.” Branding mesothelioma a disease of the present, Ms Seavor warned the death toll was likely to rise as long as the potential remained for people to be exposed to asbestos.

Kevin Parry, mayor of Swindon, paid tribute former town mayor Rex Barnett, who died in 2013 after a battle with the strain of lung cancer: “He was an amazing man. He was the best mayor Swindon has ever had.”

Figures released last week revealed that 55 men in Swindon died from mesothelioma in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available.