FARMERS with asbestos roofing materials on their buildings might prefer to keep quiet about it, as its often a problem they have no time or money to fix.

North Aberdeenshire student Lorna Campbell reckons that the silence over asbestos cement roofing might be stopping progress on policy changes that could eventually help farmers replace these materials – so in a bid to put some facts on paper, has set up a totally anonymous study for farmers to spill the beans on their asbestos burden.

In her last year of studying for an MSc in Building Surveying with Northumbria University – distance learning from her family farming home in the north-east – Lorna told The Scottish Farmer show she would be very grateful for 10 minutes of farmers' time this weekend "whilst waiting for that ewe to lamb, cow to calve, or sitting in your tractor admiring your straight lines" to fill in her anonymous online survey.

"My aim is to explore the amount of asbestos cement roofing remaining on our farms, and whether farmers feel able to manage the material amongst all of their other tasks," she explained. "The aim is not to identify regulatory non-compliance, but rather to examine awareness levels and what can be done to support farmers in their duty. The project title is 'Drivers and barriers for managing asbestos cement sheet roofing in Scottish farming'.

"To collect data for the study requires farmers to complete a 10-minute, completely anonymous, online questionnaire. The study is purely in the interest of education and furthering our knowledge about real factors affecting Scottish farmers, with a view to informing policy. The findings will be made available to all participants. For the results of the project to be meaningful, a large sample size is needed," she stressed.

So please take 10 minutes to look up at your roofs, and fill in Lorna's survey at