Asbestos fly tipping problem


Fly tipped asbestos in pile

Fly tipping the uk problem

Fly tipping asbestos in our towns, villages or rural areas can be a serious health issue in the uk with worrying consequences to the general public, animals and the landscape.

Asbestos amounts to 27% of all fly-tipping incidents according to the department for environment food and rural affairs.

Health issues

As we most of us will know asbestos is a carcinogenic (cancer causing) substance. When the asbestos is disturbed the fibres become airborne. Breathing in these fibres causes asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Obviously the illegal fly tipping is not done in a safely manner and usually done out of sight in rural places.

This makes it a health issue to members of the public walking by, residents living nearby and even worse, children playing with what would be unknown materials to them.

Animals could also be at risk, if they were to also be exposed to the asbestos. Although not much evidence has been documented about asbestos exposure to animals, researchers have found animals have died from the result of mesothelioma.

Fly tipping asbestos could also impact the environment too. For example if the asbestos had high damage, rain water could carry the fibres into the surrounding streams or soils contaminating them.

Where it happens

Fly tipping typically occurs in areas out of view. As it is illegal to fly tip any waste the culprits will choose to do it in quiet areas less likely to be caught by the police.

The most common areas are along grass hedges, down footpaths, tracks and country lanes. Typically fly tipping is done from the back of a car or commercial vans usually to avoid paying for a licenced waste skip company.

What to do if you find fly tipped asbestos

It is important not further disturb the asbestos for the obvious reasons. Report the fly tipped asbestos to your local council or even the land owner if it has been dumped on private land as the council cannot help if it’s on private land.

The council are usually quick to respond to any such incident. The land owner would have to instruct a company to call and collect the asbestos. Complete asbestos surveys can assist in any asbestos removal or asbestos surveys you may require resulting from asbestos waste been fly tipped.

If you are unsure on if fly tipped waste contains asbestos get in touch and we can advise you what to do.


Q. How widespread is the issue of fly tipping asbestos in the UK, and what are the potential health and environmental consequences?

A. Fly tipping of asbestos is a significant problem in the UK, accounting for approximately 27% of all fly-tipping incidents according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). When asbestos is illegally dumped, it poses serious health risks to the public, animals, and the environment. Asbestos is a carcinogenic substance, and inhaling its fibres can lead to diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Moreover, if asbestos waste is not properly contained, it can contaminate surrounding areas through rainwater, affecting streams and soils.

Q. What actions can individuals take if they encounter fly-tipped asbestos, particularly in terms of reporting and ensuring safe removal?

A. If you come across fly-tipped asbestos, it’s crucial not to disturb it further due to the health risks involved. Instead, promptly report the incident to your local council or the landowner if the asbestos has been dumped on private property. The council usually responds swiftly to such reports and arranges for the safe removal of the asbestos. If the asbestos waste has been fly-tipped on private land, the landowner would need to engage a licensed company for its collection. It’s also recommended to conduct asbestos surveys to assess any potential risks and facilitate proper removal procedures.

Q. Are there any preventive measures or policies in place to address the problem of illegal fly tipping, especially with hazardous materials like asbestos?

A. Various measures and policies are in place to tackle illegal fly tipping, including penalties for offenders and initiatives to raise awareness about the consequences of such actions. Local authorities often conduct surveillance and enforcement activities to deter fly tipping and catch perpetrators. Additionally, public education campaigns aim to inform communities about the proper disposal of waste and encourage responsible waste management practices. However, combating fly tipping, particularly with hazardous materials like asbestos, requires ongoing efforts from both authorities and the public to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.

Further Reading

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