Asbestos Licensing is a "permissioning regime". The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) have issued a policy statement "Our approach to permissioning regimes". This states that permissioning regimes such as asbestos licensing are only considered where the work activities involve significant hazard, risk or public concern. Asbestos is classified as a category 1 carcinogen, with asbestos related disease causing around 5000 deaths every year in the UK. Work with asbestos requires a high degree of regulatory control and the purpose of licensing is to achieve this.
Licensing is an addition to the general framework of health and safety law. It builds on the fact that the legal duty to manage risk lies with the organisations that create them.