Dealing With Asbestos on Agricultural Land

Laura Mather  14-05-2024

Many farms will have asbestos containing materials in agricultural buildings. This can come in many forms, including compressed asbestos-cement roof sheets, cladding, building partitions or rainwater gutters and down pipes.

A high proportion of farm buildings were constructed when asbestos was a commonly used, and others have been repaired or altered with asbestos containing materials, sometimes recycling the material from other buildings. Asbestos was also sometimes buried within fields.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 require farm owners and tenants to assess the presence and condition of any asbestos containing materials on their land. While not a legal requirement, it is recommended that farm owners arrange a survey by a specialist company unless they can be confident that there is no asbestos at all on their premises.


Selling or renting out agricultural property where asbestos is present?

Sellers should expect enquiries about whether there is any asbestos currently on site, whether any asbestos has been removed in the past and how the asbestos was removed. By having this information ready at an early stage, sellers will be able to avoid delays in dealing with asbestos related enquiries and negotiations. 

Also by ensuring compliance now, those looking to sell in the future will be able to protect themselves from possible issues when they come to sell.


Buying agricultural property where there are asbestos containing materials?

Whether they are purchasing an entire farm, a few farm buildings or even just land with a shed on it, buyers should request as much information as possible from a seller in relation to asbestos.

Where a buyer is intending to continue with the current agricultural or equestrian use, they will want to ensure that they are aware of any asbestos containing materials in current buildings and assess how they are being contained so that the use of the buildings can continue effectively. The HSE advises that "well-sealed, undamaged asbestos is often best left alone, but it may be better to remove ACMs that are damaged".

Where the land or property is being purchased for development and this will involve the refurbishment or demolition of unused barns or sheds, it is important to assess the presence of asbestos containing materials and the cost of their containment or removal at the purchasing stage. This will assist in assessing the cost of a project and enable a purchaser to factor in the time and costs that will be required dealing with the asbestos as part of the construction/refurbishment phase.

Asbestos management is an ongoing obligation and purchasers should be sufficiently informed as to their duties before they complete on a purchase of agricultural land and buildings.

At Samuels Solicitors, we can help with all aspects of purchasing and selling agricultural land. Contact us today to find out how we can help. 

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