Leaked report reveals that government failure to act has left visitors and MPs at "significant" risk from exposure

The government has failed to act on advice to address a “significant” threat to visitors and MPs from asbestos in the Houses of Parliament, according to a leaked report.

An investigation into the service shafts and piping ducts in the building, seen by the Guardian, reportedly warns of dangers to public health from exposure to asbestos fibres.

The study from health and safety experts Goddard Consulting was produced earlier this year and is said to warn of “significant dangers” to “all persons” in the Palace of Westminster.

It also reports fears that the issue is not being properly addressed, with the consultants expressing frustration that earlier recommendations had not been acted upon.

Of 20 samples taken from service shafts last August, 11 tested positive for brown asbestos, according to the report. Access doors to the shafts were frequently found to be unsecured and one door was wedged shut with a spoon.

Asbestos, found in many old buildings, is the greatest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK, according to the Health and Safety Executive. By law, it can be left in place provided its status is monitored and it is not disturbed.