Delays are set to thwart Police Scotland’s plans to move from its present office in Linlithgow to a new partnership hub in County Buildings – due to the presence of asbestos.
All types of asbestos fibres are known to cause serious health hazards.
A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: “Preliminary investigations have confirmed the property contains asbestos, with further work required before construction can begin.
“It is very common for a building of this age to contain asbestos – there is no risk to public or staff health as the building is currently unoccupied.
“We are currently going out to tender to appoint a specialist contractor to remove the asbestos.”
A spokesman for the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association confirmed that, in County Buildings, the material was most likely to have been used for pipe lagging and wall insulation.
The material is known to have brought about the deaths of many people who were previously unaware of the dangers associated with the mineral in various working environments.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, strength, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage and affordability.
The trade and use of asbestos has been restricted or banned in many countries.
It is most commonly found in asbestos coatings and lagging, insulation and insulating board.
Its removal from County Buildings is likely to take several months.