Asbestos Fly-tipping in Wales Hits Ten-year Peak

The number of cases of illegal asbestos fly-tipping hit a 10-year high last year, recent figures have revealed. Records show that in the year 2016-17, there were 270 cases of asbestos fly-tipping in Wales, a massive increase on the 172 cases recorded the previous year.

A public hazard

Many people are resorting to dumping car boot loads of asbestos on footpaths or highways; not only is this illegal, it’s also a public health hazard and a danger to the environment. It also costs local councils tens of thousands of pounds (rising to hundreds of thousands in cities) to clean up and remove illegally dumped materials such as asbestos every year.

Safe asbestos disposal

Disposing of asbestos legally and safely isn’t difficult. While asbestos is classified as a human carcinogen, it is safe when handled and disposed of properly, by professional teams. Asbestos may only be disposed of in a landfill which has a specific permit authorising it to accept asbestos. While asbestos can and is safely removed from buildings privately every day, you may feel more comfortable hiring a professional asbestos removal company to remove and dispose of your asbestos.

For impartial expert advice on whether you need asbestos removing from your home or business premises, please get in touch with us for an asbestos survey on 01403 738 570 or through our online contact form

Fly Tipping of Asbestos in Hampshire and Kent

The disposal of asbestos can be costly and some unscrupulous operators will dump the material illegally, usually choosing a remote spot where the they will not be observed. Fly Tipping of asbestos materials is a serious problem and a number of examples in our area have been reported recently.

In June 2016 residents of Fareham, Hampshire, awoke to the sight of four large builders refuse bags dumped on Pook Lane. Closer inspection revealed that the 7 tonnes of waste contained asbestos. A spokeswoman for the council said ‘In the interests of public safety, the council took the decision to close the road.’ A specialist contractor was commissioned by the council to manage the safe removal and disposal of the waste.

In another incident in June a large pile of scrap asbestos was dumped on a country lane in Kent. The pile of dumped material was so large it blocked the road to traffic, even before local authorities errected “road closed” signs.

The illegal fly tip caused understandable concern to local residents of Yaugher Lane, Hartlip, some of whom lived only 50 yards away.

Asbestos is not necessarily dangerous when left undamaged and in a good state of repair, but a pile of fragments in a public place like this, obviously presents a danger to health. To make matters worse some motorists ignored “road closed” signs and drove around and over the asbestos, creating dangerous dust.

Asbestos waste must be disposed of correctly and many local tips will accept asbestos. For example, in Hampshire, cement-bonded asbestos will be accepted at Andover, Basingstoke, Efford and Netley Household Waste Recycling Centres at a cost of £12 per sheet.

If you live or work in Hampshire, Kent or Sussex and encounter asbestos issues, why not give Pass Consulting a call. They have been dealing with asbestos for over 30 years.

Asbestos in Folkestone Kent

Asbestos has received a few mentions in the local press recently. A derelict building in Folkestone, Kent raised concerns because it contained asbestos, and led police to issue a statement of warning. Kent Police warned people not to trespass in the old Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone.

Asbestos can be found in many building materials used in buildings of a certain age, such as insulating board, pipe lagging, and even cement. Asbestos is not necessarily dangerous when the asbestos is safely encompassed within the material, however if the material is damaged or in a poor state of repair asbestos fibres can be released and these fibres can cause serious health problems if inhaled. For instance asbestos has been linked with the deadly strain of cancer mesothelioma.

Parts of the Royal Victoria Hospital are off limits due in part to the presence of asbestos, and there has been instances of trespassers breaking into the building. A group of children were discovered on the site and officers spoke with their parents. As a result of the incident the police increased their patrols in the area and issued the warning to local media.

A police spokesman from the Shepway Community Safety Unit said: “The site is extremely unsafe and there is an asbestos hazard which could have severe implications for people’s health” and asked that if anybody sees trespassers or suspicious activity near the site they should call Kent Police on 101.

If you are concerned about the possible presence of asbestos in your property do not hesitate to contact Pass Consulting. Conveniently situated for Kent, Pass Consulting have over thirty years of experience dealing with asbestos and can carry out a full survey of your building and help formulate a management plan.

Asbestos in Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Although you can come into contact with asbestos (correctly sealed up tight) a thousand times and remain healthy, it is still one of the primary substances of concern for both homeowners and contractors in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex areas. Indeed, many people all over the country face the same issues. The material can often be unsafe (particularly if it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested) and is known to cause serious illness if you come into contact with it in an un-safe state (perhaps damaged or in poor repair). So, it’s good to know some specialists focus their efforts on finding where it is and removing the problem without breaking the bank.
Continue reading “Asbestos in Kent, Surrey and Sussex”

What Is Asbestos?

There are many problems that can occur in pre-2000 buildings – one of them is asbestos. You may have heard of asbestos, but don’t know a lot about it. This is the case for a lot of people, they have heard the term, but have no idea what it is or why it can be a danger.

In this blog post, we hope to answer some of your asbestos questions so that you will know a bit more about it than you did before. So, without further ado, let us get straight down to business.

What Is Asbestos?

‘Asbestos’ is the name given to six naturally occurring minerals – ‘silicate minerals’. In fact ‘silicate minerals’ in general, form about 90% of the earth’s crust, but a few of them developed into a fibrous structure under vast heat and pressure over geological timescales. The lattice structure of these fibres tends to make them extremely durable. Because it’s silicon based, it’s very heat-resistant and much of it is very resistant to chemical attack by acids and the like. Blue asbestos is also resistant to radiation and so it was widely used in the earlier nuclear power stations. Long before this, as far back as AD59, it was recorded that inhaling asbestos fibres led to respiratory problems. The durability and heat resistance of asbestos, made it an ideal strengthening and binding additive to many building materials from the 1880’s onwards. Then because huge amounts of wood were needed for the war-effort in both the First and Second World Wars, the use of asbestos (as a substitute building material), mushroomed during this time (regardless of discoveries in the 1920 as to why asbestos fibres caused lung damage). Moving to the 1960’s, the health problems associated with asbestos, became more widely known and this led to a ‘Voluntary Ban’ on blue asbestos in the UK in 1965. This wasn’t as effective as politicians had hoped, so that it was declared illegal as a building material in 1975. Brown asbestos was subsequently banned in 1985 and all other types of asbestos were banned (for sale or for re-use), in the UK in November 1999.

A large part of the problem with asbestos fibres, is that in use, they can easily break down into very short lengths (a few thousandths of a millimetre long). At this point, they’re invisible and you can unknowingly breathe in clouds of them. It’s not like breathing in smelly chemicals or smoke (which you’re aware of instantly). The asbestos dust is invisible and has no smell ~ which is why asbestos is sometimes known as the silent killer.

Where Do You Find It?

As asbestos is a natural mineral – so it’s found in the natural world like any other mineral. Asbestos is thought to have first been mined in ancient Greece – even the word ‘asbestos’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘inextinguishable’ (from its’ resistance to fire). It also occurs naturally in Canada, China, India, Russia, South Africa and the USA. Once it’s mined, it’s cleaned and processed and added into the various building materials.

How Do You Mine It?

Asbestos is mined like a lot of other minerals, often using open cast mines. As it’s mined, it’s usually contaminated with various other minerals and debris and these have to be separated out before the asbestos can be used. Asbestos mining reached its peak for a few years in the 1960’s and 70’s (before it’s use started to become limited in the Western World). It’s still mined in China, India and Russia.

How Do People Use Asbestos?

Commonly, it’s mixed into cement slurries to make both flat and corrugated sheets. The asbestos fibres hold the cement together, a bit like a lot of tree roots would bind soil and clay together ~ and as it’s all bound together with asbestos, it’s very fire resistant and so can be used as cladding to protect other areas against hot boilers etc., or as the flue pipes from boilers. It’s also formed into shapes to make the ridge sections on roofs, guttering and rain water down pipes. It’s also been used in the manufacture of water tanks (that then sit up in lofts and supply water to the building below). It’s been used in the manufacture of WC cisterns, floor tiles and even the adhesive that sticks down the floor tiles. Part of the reason for the decline of the slate industry from the 1950’s, is that technology to make artificial roof slates from asbestos cement (dyed to look like slate), commenced at a price which under-cut traditional slate mining. About this time, asbestos also began to be used as fire protection around the structural trussed concrete beams being used in the new multi-storey buildings (and this contributed greatly to the asbestos contamination in New York, following the collapse of the World Trade Centres in 2001). Asbestos was also used in the manufacture of brake pads for cars (and this is believed to have led to the death of many car mechanics, as they blew out the resulting black dust from wheel hubs with compressed air during car servicing).

What Should I Do About Asbestos ?

If your property (in the UK), was built before 2000, it’s important that you have it checked out, as damaged or insecure asbestos can be a serious hazard. If your house is about to be refurbished (or even demolished), there’s a legal obligation to have it surveyed for asbestos first (as during this time, it’s the place of work for the time being, of the workmen involved). For domestic, commercial and industrial buildings, this is where Pass Consulting can help, carrying out a thorough and independent survey of your building or land, to identify any problems, suggest a management plan and help you to protect your family, your staff and yourself.

Log on to Pass Consulting’s website, which includes a section : ‘The Survey You Need’, which comprehensively takes you through the various property situations that apply to you ~ and what is or isn’t required for each.

Hopefully, this article has helped shed some light on these curious but dangerous mineral fibres ~ and the actions you should take to better protect yourself from them.