We have owned our present house in Tarn et Garonne since 2007 and wish to replace an outbuilding roof which is covered in asbestos sheeting. We have enquired over the past six years how to go about disposing of the asbestos, with no luck. Roofers I have approached have all shrugged their shoulders and our town Marie has no idea either, so we have not progressed.

Now this weekend, a french owner two door away, hired a mini pelle, drove across our garden to get to his and has proceeded to dig a large hole. In this he is throwing all his asbestos sheeting together with rubble from the walls he has demolished. Presumably he will scrape the earth back over the top and no one is the wiser (until they dig in the garden). Is this legal ? None of the other neighbours seem to have a problem with this ( we are in a row of village houses) and if there is no infraction of laws here, I think I may well do the same.

Why do I get the feeling that if this were a French forum there would just be a load of emoticons shrugging?

I agree. However, what is the choice? Total rip off. Because they would do the steel roof frame as well, we don't even get the metal scrap value out of it. They used to hang pirates from the yard arm!

18,000, it’s asbestos not spent uranium.

Quite right Debra. Here, for instance, there is no nearby dechetterie that takes it but all of them, the SYGED (Syndicat de gestion de déchets) bulletin give details of the only, repeat ONLY, one that does in this department. They will take it away but they will not dismantle structures such as our roof, before they collect the contractor must have taken the structure apart and packed all of the asbestos ready for collection. In our case it would make almost no difference. If it is the SYGED for your area, then the special crew will also turn up dressed like astronauts to remove it. If you have it on the ground and are tempted to move it, DO NOT, get the SYGED team in for that. The risks are terrible if it goes wrong.

Thanks for the bag details, saved me scanning the sheet with more or less the same in that we have.

You need to contact your Mairie and let them know what your neighbor has done, it is against the law. I hope you took pictures of him doing this illegal digging and burying.

In our area the service that takes care of the recycling and house waste also handles the asbestos removal, we call the main office and they send a special crew to remove it and they send it off to the plant where it is disposed of and they send you the bill for the disposal later.

See the picture attached:

The left hand roof with the solar panels on it is blue asbestos. It is getting to be in a bit of a bad shape. You cannot see all of it, but it is 14m long and fairly low pitched, so about 6m if it was flat. 84 sq m plus a few other sheets we have to get rid of. To have it dismounted and removed requires a specialist contractor, we would have to vacate the house for 48 hours, animals too of course. They have to be dressed up like astronauts and every sheet has to be dismounted, double packed and put on to their truck one at a time. They then have to use specialised 'vacuum cleaners' to remove particles.Without having a roofing contractor to put another roof in place we would have an €18k bill - OK, they would take down and remove the steel frame as part of the package. We only have two contractors locally, both quoted us the same. That is with blue asbestos, the safe one.

It is illegal to do it yourself, there are now only specialised dumps that receive it from certified contractors. Removing and burying or re-using it for anything else is also illegal. The fines are frightening if people get caught breaking the law. We could not resell with it in its present state and knowing there are fragments here and there on our property I am finding it, putting it in double thick plastic bags, inside another and in a locked area where there is more for when the lots has to go.

If your neighbour has done that and ground water is polluted he is for the high jump. I know nobody likes to blow whistles but morally you should. It is a very dangerous carcinogen that has several thousand years life until it breaks down, even the concrete compound 'blue' asbestos is dangerous and covered by the same laws.

Do NOT do it yourself. It would not make life at all easy for you if you were caught!

Don't forget to cut the English plugs off any old electric stuff you bury. Wouldn't want 'em finding out, many years later, us Brits have illegally buried stuff ;-)

it's what many do but it's illegal. You also have to declare if anything has been buried on the property when if/you sell. You need a specialist contractor to remove aspestos and, if i'm not mistaken, it costs a fortune :-O