Buchanan and St Ambrose schools review: independent review finds no link between campus and ill health

13 August 2019

Article: 53/3203

On 9 August 2019, the final report of the independent review on the Buchanan and St Ambrose schools in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, was published.

The review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to investigate health and safety concerns raised by parents, staff and the local community regarding the school campus.

The concerns centred around the potential health risks arising from previous use of the land on which the campus was built. In particular, there were concerns about the quality of water in the school mains supply and possible issues relating to soil contamination. 

The report concluded that the schools were safe and that there was no link between the school campus and illness.

The report found: 

  • Water samples all pass drinking water quality standards. The review recommends North Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Water should further sample water in the coming months to address some minor quality issues.
  • The methane membrane under the school building was installed correctly and no landfill related gases were detected at that time and now. 
  • Fifty soil samples were taken from soft landscaped areas, fifteen from raised beds and tested for various contaminants. The concentrations measured in soils, with the exception of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at one location, are not of concern. 
  • Elevated levels of PCB were found in one sample pit on the periphery of the site. The review recommends North Lanarkshire Council completes a full and independently verified removal of the chemical as soon as possible. 
  • The review recommends a site recovery group, made up of site users and community leaders, provides an open and transparent channel for any concerns to be raised regarding the well-being of those on the campus.

Source: Scottish Government, 9 August 2019