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Environmental Issues

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral fibre which is strong, fire-resistant and an effective insulation material. Many asbestos materials that were put into buildings remain in place today.

It is very important to be careful when handling asbestos. Do not break it up!

Why can it be dangerous?

When asbestos materials age or become damaged they can release fibres into the air. These fibres can be breathed deep into the lungs where they can stay for many years, causing possible damage.

Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, and in some cases, the lining of the heart. The Cancer Research UK website has more information about mesothelioma and products containing asbestos.

Since July 2004 all types of asbestos have been classed as hazardous and must be disposed of as controlled waste.

I think I’ve found asbestos in my home – what should I do?

It can be difficult to identify asbestos materials so you must assume that any asbestos-like material is potentially dangerous and handle it accordingly.

Do not saw, drill, break, scrape, brush or screw into any asbestos product.

Asbestos which has not been damaged is normally considered to be safe. If you think there may be asbestos materials in your home you should look for signs of damage or dust being released by the material.

If you find any asbestos that is in good condition and not worn or damaged, it can be left where it is. You can give the asbestos added protection by painting it with emulsion paint, but use an alkali-resistant primer or coating for asbestos cement products. It makes sense to mark asbestos materials as 'asbestos' and you should always tell tradespeople about the possible presence of asbestos. 

Further information and advice on asbestos is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

Asbestos is always there for a purpose. It may have been used to provide heat resistance or to provide strength. If it is removed it should always be replaced by a suitable non-asbestos product.

Find a Contractor to Remove Asbestos

How do I dispose of asbestos?

We do not provide a removal or disposal service for asbestos. Please see below for information on cement-bonded asbestos.  Asbestos is not accepted at the household recycling centres in the district.

You should use a specialist licensed contractor to make sure it is removed and disposed of in a controlled and safe manner. To find the latest advice on asbestos visit the Health and Safety Executive website

Visit Cambridgeshire County Council's website to find out more details on how to safely dispose of asbestos

What should I do with cement-bonded asbestos?

Cement-bonded asbestos is commonly found in gardens, sometimes as corrugated roof cement panels or sheeting on sheds and garages.

Cambridgeshire County Council offers residents a disposal service for small quantities of cement bonded asbestos that will fit into a bag 2.59m (8’6”) x 1.37m (4’6”) in size.  Bags are limited to one per residence per year. To see if you qualify and apply online, visit Cambridgeshire County Council's Hazardous Waste page