Councils target asbestos fly-tippers

SWP asbestos 01Somerset’s councils are targeting the criminals fly-tipping hazardous asbestos in the county with new training to improve their enforcement officers’ skills and know-how.

The expert-led course will help front line council officers with identifying asbestos, ensuring its safe removal, protecting the public and investigating its source.

Asbestos is among the wide range of risky materials that dangerous criminals have dumped in the Somerset countryside, from chemicals to medical waste.

Before its severe health hazards were fully understood, asbestos was widely used in the past for many purposes, from construction to insulation.

Today’s demolition, rebuilding and home improvements are turning up asbestos in roofs, floor tiles, storage heaters and certain types of cement.

Disposing of asbestos need not be complex or costly, but rogue traders – from builders, plumbers and electricians to waste removal firms – profit from people’s worries while putting them at risk.

Seven recycling sites accept asbestos at no cost but residents should call ahead to check space is available and then carefully double bag and seal items made of, or containing, asbestos.

Paid-for collections of asbestos can be arranged with Somerset Waste Partnership by contacting SWP customer services on [email protected] or 01823 625700.

A Somerset Waste Partnership spokesperson said: “These criminals may seem helpful and reassuring, but they con clients out of cash by pretending to correctly get rid of asbestos.

“When they fly-tip the asbestos, they put the public at risk, dump clear-up costs on council tax payers, and their clients may end in court for failing in their duty of care. These crooks endanger our health, rip off our cash, and threaten jobs by underlining legitimate businesses.”

Somerset Waste Partnership’s asbestos advice is simple:
Stay safe, check your options or consult an expert before starting any asbestos removal.
Waste carriers moving asbestos must give you a copy of the consignment note – ask for it.
· Note traders’ names, contacts and vehicle details; ask to see their waste carrier licence.
· Never pay cash for waste services and always get a receipt with all business details.

For information about disposing of asbestos, and about fighting fly-tipping, visit