Asbestos disposal warning after fly-tipping incidents soar

Northumberland County Council is urging residents and businesses to ensure they dispose of potentially harmful asbestos  through a licensed operator  following a  surge  of  asbestos fly-tipping incidents in the county.

Asbestos needs specialist removal as particular safety rules apply to  its  transportation and disposal which differ from general waste.
Over recent months asbestos  has  been illegally dumped in every corner of  the county with the  toxic waste appearing in locations from  Berwick  to Alnwick and  Bedlington to Hexham.

In the main, most of the asbestos is the old corrugated sheet type which was widely used across the county in the old colliery row houses and in farms and commercial premises. As these properties have been modernised,and the asbestos removed, it has fallen  into the  hands of unscrupulous waste contractors who have been  fly-tipping it to save costs.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services said:  "Residents and businesses are usually exceptionally careful and are aware of the dangers of asbestos which can cause serious harm to people who are exposed to it.
“ We are concerned illegal asbestos collectors are operating in the area and urge residents to report any suspicious behaviour to the council as investigations are under way.

"Fly-tipping on private land remains a significant problem for farmers and landowners who are left frustrated when they, the victims of this crime, are left to clear up dumped waste and pay for its disposal.”

The fly-tipping  of asbestos and hazardous waste has becoming increasingly  costly for the council to deal with. Over  the last nine months  it has handled 24 cases   - double that of the previous year - which have cost the authority over  £10,000.

"We want homeowners to be  responsible for their actions and clear of their obligations. If they are carrying out DIY projects and come across hazardous asbestos waste they should ensure that it  is taken away by a registered carrier and they get a receipt for it. If not, they run the real risk of being prosecuted if any dumped waste is traced back to them.” added Cllr Swithenbank.

For more information on how to dismantle items correctly, and a list of licensed operators , visit the health and safety executive's website www.hse.gov.uk or contact Northumberland County Council,
You can report  fly-tipping incidents  online at www.northumberland.gov.uk
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