Asbestos was used in multiple industries in the U.K. until it was finally prohibited in 1999. In that time it was used extensively from 1950 to 1970 in products to help build, decorate and fireproof many building like schools, hospitals, industrial units, ships and houses.
To this day there are millions of buildings in the U.K. that still have asbestos present. Those most at risk of an asbestos related disease are tradespeople like joiners, plumbers and electricians who unknowingly disturb asbestos while doing their daily duties. Uncontrolled removal or disturbance of these products during building renovations can release large amounts of asbestos fibres into the air where they can be breathed in, but worryingly can also contaminate working clothes which are brought back to the home.
HSE Asbestos Page
Managing and Working with Asbestos: Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Approved Code of Practice and guidance
Asbestos Information Centre AIC
Useful guide to hiring an asbestos abatement company from Asbestos .com (U.S.)