HC Deb 19 June 1986 vol 99 cc634-5W
Mr. Parry

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if Her Majesty's Government have any plans to finance safe asbestos removal programmes in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he has any plans to introduce legislation to control asbestos pollution; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what representations he has received asking him to introduce legislation to control asbestos pollution.

Sir George Young

Approximately 20 representations concerning legislation to control asbestos in the environment have been received over the past two years. Legislation controlling atmospheric pollution by asbestos works was introduced in 1983. The Health and Safety (Emissions to Atmosphere) Regulations define asbestos works in schedule 1 and require that the best practicable means are used to control emissions of noxious or offensive substances, including asbestos, and to render harmless and inoffensive any such substances which are emitted. Disposal of asbestos waste is controlled by the Council of Pollution Act 1974 (Part 1) and associated regulations. My right hon. Friend has no plans for further legislation.

Funds are not made available specifically for asbestos removal programmes, but rate support grant is paid in support of local authoriries' revenue expenditure generally, including expenditure on asbestos. It is not necessary to remove all asbestos from buildings. Asbestos materials which are damaged, deteriorating and releasing dust should be treated or removed. Asbestos materials which are in good condition and are not vulnerable to damage may be left in place safely. The Department published advice to householders on asbestos in December 1983 in the free leaflet "Asbestos in Housing". More detailed advice to local authorities was published in August 1983 in the booklet "Asbestos Materials in Buildings". This booklet has been expanded and updated and a revised version will be published in August this year.