Asbestos advice

Asbestos is a building material which was widely used in products and buildings between the 1950s and the mid-1980s. Asbestos cement was used up until 1999. If your house was built or refurbished in this period then it may contain some asbestos.

If your home is rented, you should be able to get the relevant information from your landlord.

Asbestos is usually safe unless it is damaged or disturbed. When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately, they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed it is often too late to do anything. That is why it is important to protect yourself and others from exposure and prevent fibres being released into the air and make sure that you:

Follow HSE asbestos safety advice

We advise you to follow the comprehensive Asbestos guidance on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

HSE provides authoritative information about:

If you think there is asbestos in your home

The general rule is to always leave asbestos alone. It is usually safe unless it is damaged or disturbed. It is not possible to tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it. Only a lab can confirm the presence of asbestos.

  • Paint indoor material with an alkali resistant paint, such as PVA emulsion. Never sand, drill or saw asbestos material.
  • Always seek advice before removing asbestos.
  • Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board yourself. These materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor.
  • Sometimes it will be necessary to take a sample to confirm the presence of asbestos and/or the type of asbestos.
  • If the asbestos is damaged, seek advice.

Removing or doing DIY work on asbestos yourself

You can only remove asbestos cement products yourself. Do not attempt to remove or do any work on sprayed asbestos, lagging or insulating boards. This must be undertaken by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. If you are not sure which asbestos containing material (ACM) it is – seek advice.

Do not drill, cut or disturb asbestos unless absolutely necessary. Do not scrape or sand asbestos material before painting or decorating. Such work may release fibres into the air.

For removing or working on asbestos cement only:

  • Prepare the work area – remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting. Keep other people away.
  • Wear protective clothing – disposable overall with hood, disposable paper face mask (for use with asbestos) and rubber or disposable gloves.
  • Damp down the asbestos to avoid producing dust – use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but do not soak the area as this will make cleaning up more difficult.
  • Use hand tools instead of power tools if possible – hand tools produce less dust and avoids the risk of using electricity in a wet environment.
  • Remove the asbestos without breaking it up. Wrap the asbestos in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape. Label with ‘Asbestos’.
  • Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand – wipe down with damp disposable cloths. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread the asbestos dust around.
  • Pick up the polythene sheeting and remove your protective clothing. Dispose of both as with the asbestos waste.
  • Wash hands and face after job is completed.

Disposing of asbestos waste

Asbestos waste must be disposed of at special facilities, separately from household waste.

Household asbestos waste can only be disposed of at Hereford and Leominster Recycling Centres. Read the guidance below before booking your appointment.

None of the other market town recycling centres will accept asbestos.

Taking household asbestos waste to Hereford or Leominster Recycling Centres

  • You must be a resident of Herefordshire and will need to provide your address and vehicle registration when you book.
  • Use the details for your chosen centre above to ring beforehand to check they have space to take your waste on your chosen day. If not you may have to arrange your visit for another day.
  • Book a household recycling visit.
  • When you arrive at the site let a site assistant know that you wish to dispose of asbestos.
  • Asbestos will only be accepted on site if it is double-bagged or wrapped in plastic sheeting and sealed.
  • Any material you deposit must be able to fit into the container openings which measure 84cm by 158cm.

The council will not collect asbestos waste.

Environmental health - commercial team

Contact centre opening hours are Monday to Friday - 9am to 4.15pm.

Address: Environmental Health Commercial Team, Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0LE

Telephone: 01432 261761

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