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Asbestos

Asbestos Warning SignThis page contains information about asbestos removal, disposal and what to do if you think that your home may contain asbestos.

Introduction

Asbestos is a mineral fibre that was used for many years due to its strength and resistance to heat and oil. If your property is more than 15 years old, it is possible that it contains materials made from asbestos. Asbestos is classed as 'special waste' which means that it has to be dealt with differently.

What to do if you have asbestos in the home

The general rule is to always leave asbestos alone, it is usually safe unless it is damaged or disturbed.

Paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA (polyvinyl acetate) emulsion and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials.

Always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules if carrying out asbestos cement removal work. Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor.

If you are not sure if a material is asbestos you could arrange for a private contractor to come out to have a look at the material. If necessary they can take a section of the suspected asbestos and have it tested in a laboratory.

Disposal of asbestos waste

You will need to obtain a permit to dispose of asbestos please contact Leicestershire County Council (LCC) on Leicester (0116) 305 0001 or visit the Waste and Recycling section of their website [external link]. Further information on asbestos can be found on the website of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) [external link].

If as a house holder you intend to transport asbestos cement waste in your own vehicle, you do not need to be a registered carrier provided that it is your own waste. You will however require this permit to be allowed to unload. You should take the following steps to ensure that asbestos does not contaminate your car:-

  • spray sheets of asbestos cement with water,
  • double wrap or double bag the asbestos cement with heavy duty polythene,
  • ensure the wrapping is secured with tape, and
  • make sure vehicle occupants do not have access to the asbestos waste.

For a collection service or to dispose of large amounts of asbestos, you will need to contact a licensed private company. The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association [external link] or the Health and Safety Executive's asbestos licence holders list [external link] both contain information of licensed contractors. It is your responsibility to check that the contractor you choose has the relevant licences. A 'special waste consignment note' provided by the Environment Agency [external link] must accompany each load of special waste. The contractor must provide you with a copy of this.

Asbestos advice

Do not panic if you think you have asbestos in your home - it is usually only a problem if it is disturbed. Do not drill, saw or disturb materials that contain asbestos and seek further advice regarding removal and disposal.

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