Asbestos

Environmental Health does not offer any specific asbetos related services such as surveys, identification, removal or disposal as it is a very specialist subject area and we do not have suitable professional qualifications in the team to legally carry these out. There are many third party private sector firms that may be able to assist and could be found by an internet search.

If this webpage does not sufficently address any questions or needs you may have, you can contact Environmental Health by email: environmental.protection@reigate-banstead.gov.uk or refer to the the frequently asked questions page on the HSE website:

If you suspect that asbestos has been dumped anywhere in the borough please contact the Joint Enforcement Team by email:  jet@reigate-banstead.gov.uk

What are the hazards?

The mere physical presence of asbestos does not necessarily create a health risk. The risk arises from breathing microscopic asbestos fibres that are released through mishandling or in areas where the asbestos is subject to heavy wear.

Uses of asbestos

  • asbestos cement: used in shed or corrugated garage roofs, roofing tiles, eaves, gutters and water tanks

  • soft asbestos: used in pipe and boiler lagging

  • insulation board: used in fire-proof cladding, thermal insulation board and acoustic panels

  • sprayed coatings: used on soffits to communal walkways in blocks of flats and underground car parks for fire protection

  • miscellaneous: used in ironing boards, brake pads, textured paints, floor tiles and certain types of Calor gas portable heaters manufactured before 1976.

Action to be taken

If asbestos material is in good order and repair - leave it alone! You are likely to create the potentially hazardous dust by attempting to remove the material. For further advice on asbestos removal or working on asbestos refer to: http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/are-you-a.htm

Do not attempt removal of:

  • soft asbestos

  • asbestos insulating board (similar to plaster board)

  • sprayed asbestos coating.

These should be dealt with by a professional stripping company licensed by the Health and Safety Executive. The work must be undertaken in accordance to a strict code of practice involving the use of specialised equipment and protective clothing. For a list of licensed removers refer to:  Asbestos licence holiders (Health and safety Execurtive website)

Removal of sheet asbestos (e.g. corrugated shed or garage roof)

Removal of asbestos cement products, which normally comprise 10-15% of asbestos removal, can be undertaken by the householder provided the following precautions are observed:

  • avoid breaking up small pieces by using hammers or dropping from heights into refuse skips

  • do not use power tools - hand tools only

  • undo hardware such as fixing bolts and screws and remove panels complete

  • thoroughly soak the material before starting work. You are advised to introduce a suitable wetting agent, such as washing-up liquid, into the water before saturation

  • stack the removed sheets in the open and cover with a plastic sheet. Small pieces should be soaked and swept into strong plastic sacks and sealed (no vacuum cleaning)

  • always work in well-ventilated areas

  • persons handling asbestos should wear washable over-clothing and should thoroughly wash bare skin on completion of the work. If removal is difficult and large pieces of asbestos need to be broken up, you are advised to hire clothing and equipment from a reliable hire shop (see the telephone directory) and wear a dust mask specified for asbestos dust.

Disposal of asbestos

Small amounts of hazardous waste such as asbestos (i.e. 6 sheets of asbestos cement) can be safely disposed of at the Civic Amenity Site located at Blenheim Road, Epsom KT19 9DL. The site also accepts business waste at a charge.

Do not put asbestos waste in a wheelie bin or take it to any other local authority civic amenities depot. See further advice from Surrey County Council.