Contaminated land can be harmful to the environment, ecosystems and human health.
Land can be contaminated by:
- industrial processes such as chemical, brick or gas works, or
- waste disposal including landfill sites and accidental spillages.
On this page:
The Environmental Protection Act 1990
We deal with contaminated land as set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Our role as required by the act is to:
- inspect the district for contaminated land
- record information about contaminated land in a public register
- establish who is responsible for remediation of contaminated land
- complete consultation to decide what remediation is required, and enforce this
- determine who must pay the remediation costs.
Local authorities must produce a contaminated land strategy. We have developed ours following government guidelines.
Our strategy sets out our position, priorities and expected future progress. It was updated in 2018 to reflect the current Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance.
We inspect potentially contaminated sites to identify their risk to the public.
Our commitment to this is set out within our Contaminated Land Strategy.
We maintain a list of contaminated sites across the district and their risk levels.
Sometimes further investigation of sites must take place if
- we are unable to identify contamination levels, or
there is an unacceptable risk to human health due to a high level of contamination.
Only those sites where evidence that an unacceptable risk to human health could reasonably exist will be investigated further.
As such we are not currently proactively pursuing detailed inspections of high priority sites due the evidence presented to date, prohibitively costly intrusive site investigations and the removal of the Contaminated Land Capital Grants Scheme which ended in April 2017.
However, should further evidence be obtained concerning high priority sites, then we will re-assess the situation and proactively investigate the site where deemed appropriate.
Where a significant risk to human health from the current use of the site is present, then action can be taken to remediate/clean up the site on the principle that the polluter pays.
Where the polluter cannot be found then the current landowner will be liable for the cost of any clean up or remedial works.
Development of contaminated land
It is required that when you are undertaking building work that involves breaking ground, you must take all precautions to protect the safety of any workers at the site, and the end users of the site from any possible sources of contamination.
As a developer, when submitting plans you need to be mindful of the need to take all appropriate steps to understand if the site you have chosen for development is suitable for the intended use in its current state; or whether you will have to take steps ensure the site is fit for us. Please contact us for further information.
As a home owner, if you are undertaking building works you will need to be mindful of the contaminated land provisions as you may be required to demonstrate to the council that the land that you property is on is not so contaminated as to cause a risk.
In both cases we advise that you employ a contaminated land consultant to undertake a phased investigation of the site in accordance with the published guidance.
The investigation should identify any sources of contamination at the site, the receptors such as humans whose health might be affected, water courses, eco-systems and the pathways through which the contamination can get from the sources to the receptors.
The investigation should follow a logical progression:
- Phase 1 - Desk Study - what are the Sources, Pathways and Receptors?
- Phase 2 - Site Investigation - can you confirm your findings from Phase 1?
- Phase 3 - Remediation - what needs to be done to the protect the receptors?
- Phase 4 - Completion and Validation - is the site now fit for purpose?
Please see our Developers Guide to Development on Potentially Contaminated Land, which has been produced to assist developers, agents and consultants who are involved in developments where planning permission is required and contaminated land is a consideration.
Contaminated land sites
A database of the potentially contaminated sites within our district has been developed in accordance with our Contaminated Land Strategy.
We are required to maintain a Public Register of Contaminated Land in accordance with the requirements of the Contaminated Land (England) Regulations 2006.
Currently there are no entries on the register.
Please note that the absence of an entry on the register does not indicate that any parcel of land is clean or uncontaminated.
Land that has been contaminated to some degree by previous or current land uses is not always entered on the register because it is not considered to present a hazard to current land users or the environment or because insufficient information about its condition is available.
Information we hold
We hold a limited amount of information relating to contaminated land; this information includes;
- previous site history from OS maps dated between 1867-1995
- Environment Agency data; this data includes post 1974 landfill sites, pollution incidents and some industrial sites
- limited information on conservation areas
- contamination reports in the public domain, some of which may relate to the site
- Petroleum Officer records detailing underground storage tanks locations and their status.
We undertake contaminated land searches within a standard 250 metre radius of a subject site or property, or answer specific questions relating to a site on contaminated land information that we hold.
We also investigate complaints of contaminated land.
You can contact us:
Phone: 02380 285411
Our office hours are:
Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5.15pm
Friday: 8.45am to 4.45pm