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Rural health hazard highlights asbestos risks

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Rural health hazard highlights asbestos risks

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This month, a report by the BBC highlighted the growing problem of dumping hazardous waste, including asbestos.

Over the last nine months, Northumberland County Council has dealt with 24 cases, racking up a bill of over £10,000. Most of the dumped asbestos is the old corrugated sheet type which was widely used across the county in old colliery houses, 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 are believed to have been fly-tipping to save costs.

Cabinet member, Ian Swithenbank, expressed his concerns saying that if homeowners are unable to prove their hazardous waste has been removed by a registered operative they run “the real risk of being prosecuted if any dumped waste is traced back to them.”

There are strict rules concerning its removal and disposal by a licensed operator but unlicensed waste contractors have been dumping it to save costs, the authority added.

Phil Franks, director at Franks Portlock commented on the issue, saying: “There is a duty of care that all removal of asbestos containing materials is carried out in accordance with Government and industry regulations. To not adhere to this, puts the public at risk of being exposed to highly dangerous material that can result in serious chronic illnesses.

“At Franks Portlock, we have a wealth of experience in managing environmental risk in order to comply with UK safety regulations. We have the technical capabilities and expertise to undertake projects of any scale and would encourage anyone who needs the services of an asbestos professional to get in touch with us.”

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