Many people have worries about asbestos, but undisturbed asbestos usually poses no problems. However, care should be taken to prevent the release of fibres as they can cause serious damage to your health.
Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. This has led to their use in a wide range of building materials and products, often as fireproofing. It was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain from the 1950s through to the mid 1980s. Asbestos cement has been widely used as a cladding material and can still commonly be found e.g. in the fabric of garages, sheds and rainwater goods.
If you think you have asbestos in your home and it is in good condition and unlikely to become damaged it is safe to leave it where it is. You should not screw into, drill or sand asbestos material. If you need to remove the asbestos material you must take special precautions to ensure that asbestos fibres are not released into the air during the work.
Asbestos containing material is classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of safely.
If the material you wish to dispose of does not meet the criteria required by B&NES Recycling Centres they will be unable to accept them and you will need to arrange for alternative safe disposal. This can be done by employing a contractor to transport and safely dispose of the material. Contractors must be licensed by the Environment Agency to transport asbestos cement and you must ensure that you employ a suitably licensed contractor. Alternatively, some licensed contractors provide special skips which are suitable for asbestos cement. Asbestos materials must never be placed in any other type of skip.
Some types of asbestos material are more hazardous than asbestos cement. e.g. (sprayed asbestos, lagging or insulating boards) and must always be removed by contractors with a special license issued by the Government. These licensed contractors have to follow regulations to ensure asbestos is safely removed.