A school's faulty biomass boiler has put students and staff at risk of asthma, a union has claimed.

The GMB union said a problem with the flues from biomass boilers at Bexhill High School has caused smoke to enter classrooms, sparking concerns for the health of those teaching and studying at the school.

The union said the problem had been apparent since the new school building opened three years ago, adding that health and safety “cannot be compromised”.

The school was taken over by the Prospects Academies Trust (PAT) in 2012, two years after construction was completed.


A spokeswoman from PAT said the trust took concerns over safety seriously and it understood the issue with smoke at Bexhill Hill “didn’t pose a risk to health”.

But Rachel Verdin, from the GMB, said the issue could cause asthma.

She said: “One of the key problems is that it is very much dependent on the weather, literally on which way the wind blows.”

A spokeswoman from PAT said it realised the problem was “unpleasant for all who encounter it,” but it was working to rectify the defect as soon as possible.

She said: “We have been advised that the design and construction of the biomass boilers and associated flues was in full compliance with all current regulations.

“However the exhaust flues from the biomass boiler were identified by the school as needing correction.

“East Sussex County Council has liaised with the school and Kier, the company responsible for the construction of Bexhill High, on any building defects since they arose.”

Construction firm Kier said it investigated the biomass boiler’s chimney after the school raised concerns.

Its research showed that although smoke could cause a nuisance in certain conditions, there were no health and safety issues connected with the problem at Bexhill High School.

A spokeswoman added: “We have now modified the design in order to minimise the inconvenience caused.”