What is Asbestos?

About Asbestos

Asbestos is a Class 1 Human Carcinogen, it is a general term for 6 naturally occurring Silicates belonging to the Serpentine and Amphibole mineral classes.

Asbestos can be found in a large amount of places, from large complex industrial and construction sites to highly sensitive sites including domestic properties, hospitals, schools, colleges, high-security nuclear complexes and military facilities.

There are three major types of asbestos that were widely used in the construction industry between the 1950’s and the Mid 1980’s and as a result are still commonly found throughout the United Kingdom, you can read more about these below.


Asbestos danger sign at building construction site
Prolonged inhalation of microscopical fibers causes fatal illnesses including lung cancer.

Fully Qualified Surveyors

All lead surveyors employed by Ledbury Surveys hold P402 Bulk Surveys and Bulk Sampling and P405 Management of Asbestos in Buildings qualifications with the company having obtained further qualifications including:

  • BOHS S301
  • NEBOSH Health and Safety
  • CSCS Platinum Site Management and Asbestos Inspector Operative
  • CSCS Platinum Award for continued commitment to Health and Safety on Site
  • Powered Access Licence
  • CITB Confined Space Entry
  • Trained in Working at Height
  • Qualified for non-licensed asbestos removal


An Amphibole mineral, Amosite is distinguished as a brown asbestos fibre. Most frequently found in low-density insulation boards and thermal insulation products, Amosite may also be found in composite materials such as Bakelite.


A Serpentine mineral, frequently referred to as white asbestos, Chrysotile is widely used in cement products. It is also commonly found in textured coatings to ceilings and walls such as Artex, old vinyl floor coverings, as textile flash guards and rope seals in old electrical switchgear, as well as in low density insulation boards and thermal insulation products.

Rough brown asbestos stone on dark background.Rough brown asbestos stone on dark background.
Asbestos chrysotile fibers


Also an Amphibole mineral, Crocidolite is distinguished as a blue asbestos fibre and, like Amosite, is also often found in thermal insulation products as well as composite gaskets to machinery.

The three remaining asbestos minerals associated with the Amphibole class of minerals include Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite, these minerals, however, are extremely rare in the UK.

The importation of Amosite and Crocidolite asbestos was outlawed in the UK in 1985 with a ban on the importation of Chrysotile asbestos passed in 1999. A number of these products imported before these laws were passed can still be found in buildings constructed after these dates, the result of irresponsible construction and building maintenance practices.

When in a good condition ACM are unlikely to release fibres. However, when these materials fall into a state of disrepair, are damaged or disturbed in any way, fibres may become airborne increasing the risk of being inhaled by people in the surrounding area.

Exposure to asbestos fibres is proven to be a key contributor in the development of Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, Lung Cancer and Diffuse Pleural Thickening. These diseases, which typically develop some years after exposure, were not fatal are highly debilitating. To find out more go to the official HSE Asbestos page.

Asbestos & The Risks

Way before the dangers of asbestos were fully known or understood, asbestos material was often used in buildings, roofing, insulation, flooring and even sprayed on ceilings. It is now completely BANNED for use within the UK.

Recent Clients & Undertakings

Sutton Surveys

Type 2 Management asbestos surveys of over 1000 domestic properties as part of Herefordshire Housing’s commitment to CAR 2012.

St. Mowden Developments

Demolition/Refurbishment surveys of Hednesford Town Centre and Long Marston Industrial Estate.


Surveying and inspection of various British Waterways sites ranging from offices to work boats.

Worcester College

Re-inspection and updating of former Type 2 Management asbestos surveys.