Parents have been left feeling “ignored and powerless” after their repeated calls to investigate what they fear could be a health hazard in their housing block went unanswered.

Damaged paint containing asbestos in council-owned Sydney House, Muswell Hill, has left neighbours fearing their children’s health could be at risk.

Anna Klockgether, who lives in the block of flats in Sydney Road with her teenage daughter, said she had spent more than two years alerting Barnet Council’s housing arm, Barnet Homes, to the issue.

Yet despite being assured Barnet Homes would investigate the matter, she said it had been more than a year since her initial contact with the health and safety inspector – and several emails she had recently sent had not been acknowledged.

“I and my fellow residents are very concerned,” Ms Klockgether said. “We worry about the potential long-term damage to the health of our children. We feel ignored and powerless.”

A survey carried out in 2011 revealed some of the walls of the communal areas in Sydney House are coated in paint containing asbestos.

Times Series: A section of chipped paint in the buildingA section of chipped paint in the building

The report recommends monitoring the condition of the material. It adds: “Fibres are firmly bonded and only likely to be released if the material is mechanically damaged or aged, deteriorated or decomposed.”

But in the winter of 2016-17, a water leak damaged the communal stairwell of the flats – and the paint subsequently started to flake.

When materials containing asbestos are damaged, asbestos fibres – which can cause cancer and lung disease – can be released into the air.

Ms Klockgether said she had to send the asbestos report to Barnet Homes, claiming the housing organisation did not seem to be aware of it – even though it had commissioned the survey. She also sent photos of the flaked paint.

She said the fact that she had to do this suggested Barnet Homes had not been effectively monitoring the condition of the asbestos.

Times Series: An asbestos survey was carried out in 2011An asbestos survey was carried out in 2011

And she added that if Barnet Homes had carried out a risk assessment since her last email, residents had not been made aware of the findings.

“The paint is chipping along the entire length of the stairwell,” she said. “There are four more families with children in the block. We have young children using the corridor daily.”

A Barnet Homes spokesperson said: “Barnet Homes apologises to Ms Klockgether that in this case, the customer service experience with us has not been to the standard we strive for.

“The safety and peace of mind of our residents is our number one priority, and we regularly inspect our properties and communal areas to ensure residents’ safety. We take reports of damaged asbestos extremely seriously.

“The report which Ms Klockgether has provided classed the asbestos in the block as ‘low’ risk and recommended that the situation in the block should be monitored and managed. This management and monitoring has taken place, with further inspections undertaken in 2013 and 2018. Following the 2013 report, an area of chipped paint was removed.

“These inspections, carried out by independent consultants, did not find any new evidence for the risk rating to be changed from ‘low’.

“We are, however, arranging for a further precautionary inspection to the area by our asbestos consultants as a priority. Should they raise any concerns, we will act on them accordingly to ensure residents’ safety.”