Anyone who still has asbestos in their roof should not wait too long to clean up, warns the province. “It is becoming more dangerous and more difficult to remove,” said deputy Tjisse Stelpstra.
The politician of the ChristenUnie is concerned about the rate at which asbestos roofs are disappearing. Until mid-2019, the remediation was progressing at a good pace, but then it slumped. The reason was that the Senate at the eleventh hour rejected a bill by then State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) on the basis of which everyone had to remove asbestos from their buildings before 2025. She postponed the deadline for another three years, but this did not help: the senate ruled that the proposal was hasty and unaffordable.
The number of square meters of roof surface that was cleaned up in Drenthe has since decreased from 160,000 square meters in the second quarter of 2019 to around 50,000 per quarter now. Stelpstra concludes that the work has not collapsed and that owners (now that there is no longer any obligation in the air) only have asbestos removed when they are busy with renovation work, for example.
He can imagine that consideration, but finds the pace too slow. Over time, asbestos parts weather somewhat and can pose a risk to public health. Moreover, it does not become any easier to remove them safely.”
2 million square meters renovated
About 40 percent of the roofs with asbestos have now been removed throughout Drenthe, which is 2 million of the 3 million square meters of roof surface. The municipality of Tynaarlo is the furthest with the approach, where just over half of the asbestos roofs have been removed. With 29 percent, Meppel still has a long way to go. Owners can apply for various loans from the province under favorable conditions to finance asbestos removal.
In addition, the government is coming up with an action plan to speed up the remediation of the roofs. The annual budget is 3 million euros and the money is mainly intended for information to property owners. Stelpstra hopes this will lead to acceleration, but has a hard head. “I was actually in favor of a ban on asbestos, although I also understood that the Senate rejected that regulation. I don’t think it will become a legal obligation yet, it is to be hoped that the action plan will speed things up.”
In 2016, the province, together with environmental service RUDD, carefully mapped out where asbestos roofs are located everywhere. For this, aerial shots were made with a special camera. This information allows the province to track exactly where asbestos roofs still need to be cleaned up.