If asbestos is not handled properly, it releases tiny fibres that can cause serious diseases if someone breathes them in.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral. It was used in a lot of building materials because it resists fire and heat.

If your property is more than 15 years old it's likely to have some asbestos. This is not generally a problem, as asbestos is usually safe unless it's damaged or is disturbed, but it must be treated with caution.

Dos and don'ts



  • paint indoor materials with an alkali-resistant paint, such as PVA emulsion
  • get advice before removing asbestos
  • follow the basic rules below if you decide to remove asbestos yourself
  • drill, sand, saw or disturb materials that contain asbestos
  • remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself - these can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor

How to dispose of asbestos

Asbestos is classed as 'special waste'. You have to dispose of it separately from normal household waste.

Hiring a contractor

If you hire a contractor to do this, you're responsible for ensuring they:

  • have a licence to take down, remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials
  • give you a copy of the Special Waste Consignment Note from the Environment Agency, for each load of waste

Disposing of asbestos yourself

If you want to dispose of your asbestos yourself:

  • hire a special skip
  • you don't need to be a registered carrier, as long as it's your own waste

Steps to avoid contaminating your vehicle

Take the following steps to ensure your car is not contaminated:

  1. Spray sheets of asbestos cement with water
  2. Double-wrap or double-bag the asbestos with heavy-duty polythene
  3. Secure the wrapping with tape
  4. Make sure other people in the vehicle don't have access to the asbestos