Welsh Government scraps £3m plan for controversial ozone machines in schools
The Welsh Government has scrapped its plan for introducing controversial ozone disinfection machines in schools.
The Education Minister Jeremy Miles has announced that the £3.31m they had set aside for the plan will now be ploughed into improving ventilation in education settings such as school classrooms, colleges and lecture halls instead.
It is part of a in a move to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 and create safer learning environments for pupils, students and staff. The announcement comes as new CO2 monitors are starting to be rolled out in educational settings across Wales this week.
The Welsh Government had decided to consult with experts before buying ozone machines after questions were raised about their safety and effectiveness, including in article on Nation.Cymru by GP Dr Eilir Hughes.
Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives had also asked the Welsh Government to look again at the plan.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said: “It has been good to see children back in schools this term. We know how important it is for their wellbeing that they are able to be in school with their friends and teachers, and we are doing all we can to make sure that classrooms are a safe space for pupils to learn.
“This investment for ventilation improvements, along with the rollout of CO2 monitors, will help to keep transmission rates low. However, it is still really important that we all do our bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and this includes regular handwashing and maintaining distance where we can.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS, said: “We welcome this latest U-turn from Labour ministers as it’s imperative we keep children safe whilst avoiding any more disruption to their learning.
“Ventilation is crucial to combating coronavirus, but this money has only become available because Labour have now scrapped their controversial ozone machines scheme which involved the spraying of toxic chemicals in classrooms.
“Experts and medics couldn’t understand why these machines were being invested in by Labour ministers over enhanced ventilation systems, and Welsh Conservatives expressed serious concerns from the outset of these proposals.
“Educating our young people and keeping them safe has to be the priority and today’s U-turn demonstrates this was another Labour policy that was sadly not thought through in the chase for a cheap press headline.”