What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of a large number of fibres. It is now a strictly controlled material that was previously used in domestic appliances and in building construction from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. Asbestos can be mixed with other materials (asbestos-containing materials) and the only certain way of identifying if a material contains asbestos is by laboratory analysis. Unfortunately, the council does not have any testing facilities, nor is it able to undertake testing on your behalf.

Asbestos can be found in, amongst other things:

  • Old domestic appliances, including ironing boards, storage heaters;
  • Insulation materials, such as oven doors and airing-cupboard linings and shelving;
  • Cement products;
  • Roofing materials;
  • Flue-pipes;
  • Gutters and drains;
  • Cold water cisterns;
  • Other construction materials.

The most common asbestos-containing materials encountered are asbestos cement products, popular in the past for their strength, fire retardant and sound insulating properties. These materials are often found fully- or semi-compressed into flat or corrugated sheets used as roof and wall cladding.

When might asbestos-containing materials become a problem?

Asbestos is only a risk to health when fibres are released into the air and breathed in. As long as the material is in good condition and is not disturbed or damaged there is no risk to health.

Dealing with asbestos-containing materials

If asbestos-containing materials are in good condition; i.e. the material is sound and is not likely to be damaged, worked on or disturbed, it is usually safer to leave it in place and manage it. If necessary, asbestos cement can be sealed using alkali-resistant paint, and textured coatings containing asbestos can be covered with emulsion. Materials can also be sealed or encapsulated.

If asbestos-containing materials are in poor condition; i.e. the material is breaking up, flaking or damaged or is likely to be damaged or disturbed, it should be sealed, enclosed or removed.

If you are unsure what action to take, seek specialist advice from an asbestos surveyor, a laboratory, or a licensed contractor; the following link contains some useful contacts, although no recommendation should be inferred:

When removing asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition:

  • Keep everyone out of the work area who does not need to be there;
  • Take care not to create dust;
  • Keep the material wet to minimise any dust;
  • Wear a suitable disposable face mask and overalls;
  • Wrap the material in plastic sheeting after removal;
  • Do not vacuum up debris, use a damp cloth and dispose of this with the material;
  • Wash well after completing the work.

Disposal of asbestos-containing materials

Asbestos must not be disposed of with normal household or commercial waste.

The council will not collect asbestos-containing materials. Small amounts can be taken free of charge to Loscoe Household Waste Recycling Centre at Taylor Lane, Loscoe, DE75 7TA.

Current policy is to accept a maximum of two sheets of asbestos-containing material (no larger than 8ftx3ft) resulting from a repair to a private household, in addition to small pieces found in domestic appliances. This material must be double-bagged in heavy-duty polythene bags and clearly labelled before transportation to a licensed site. Material must be brought to the site by the householder. Trade waste will not be accepted.

Please telephone our refuse hotline on 01773 841326 or Loscoe Household Waste Recycling Centre on 01773 716629 to check current policy on acceptance.

For larger quantities please refer to Derbyshire County Council's 'Trusted Trader' scheme, the Yellow Pages or the internet for specialist contractors, who should be licensed under the Asbestos (Licensing) Regulations, as well as details of specialist skip hire firms. It is your responsibility to ensure the contractor has the relevant licences.

Who regulates asbestos?

  • The council's landscape services team can deal with complaints of fly tipping in public places.
  • The council's pollution team can deal with complaints regarding neighbours damaging asbestos.
  • The council's regulation unit ensure employers in offices, shops, warehouses, places used for leisure activities and other non-industrial premises undertake appropriate asbestos assessments.
  • The council's Housing Team ensure private rented property landlords undertake appropriate asbestos assessments.
  • The Health and Safety Executive ensure employers in factories and industrial activities undertake asbestos assessments.
  • The Environment Agency can deal with complaints regarding large scale (van loads) of asbestos being dumped.

Contact us immediately on the environment unit hotline 01773 841335 if you are concerned about unsafe handling of asbestos-containing materials.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841335 or email