From 1 January, new premiums will be available for the removal of asbestos from homes, schools and care institutions. The Flemish government will release a record amount of 124 million euros for this in the next two years. Asbestos is a harmful and carcinogenic substance that was often used in building materials in the past. In Flanders there are an estimated 2.7 million homes that still contain asbestos.
Asbestos is a substance that was often used in building materials until the late 1990s. The typical corrugated iron or asbestos-bound roof slates are particularly well-known, but it was also used in many other applications. The OVAM waste company estimates that there is still about 910,000 tons of asbestos in 2.7 million private homes in Flanders.
Asbestos consists of small fibers that when released can cause various diseases and cancer if inhaled. Since 1998 it has therefore been prohibited to produce, use or reuse asbestos.
In order to make Flanders “asbestos-safe” as soon as possible, the Flemish government is allocating an extra 124 million euros over the next two years to remove asbestos. That is six times more than the current annual budget, says Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA).
“84 million euros will go to an extra premium of 8 euros per square meter for those who insulate their façade or roof and at the same time remove the asbestos slates, the asbestos-containing roof or the asbestos-containing façade cladding,” says Minister Demir.
The new premium will come into effect on 1 January 2021 and applies both to those who have the work carried out by a contractor and to those who do it themselves. Please note: the removal of asbestos must always take place according to the correct precautions and you may not always do it yourself (read more about this on the OVAM website).
Another 40 million euros will go to asbestos removal in schools and care institutions over the next two years. “We want to focus on places where many vulnerable people come together,” says Demir. Part of that budget can also go to local authorities for asbestos removal and collection at home.
“Flanders is still full of asbestos and every year about 700 people die from the consequences of asbestos diseases. So we really have to catch up to make Flanders asbestos-safe again soon”, Minister Demir concludes.