What is Contaminated Land?
Contaminated land is defined, by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as land with substances in, on or underneath where:
- Significant harm is being caused or there is significant possibility of such harm being caused or
- Pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused.
The term 'harm' is used here to describe damage to any of the following:
- Human beings
- Ecological systems and living organisms within protected sites or reserves
- Property in the form of crops, produce, livestock
- Owned or domesticated animals and wild animals which are subject to shooting or fishing rights
- Property in the form of buildings, including ancient monuments
The government has encouraged building on "Brownfield sites", land that has been used for industrial purposes in the past. Many of these sites are therefore cleaned up during the planning process.
What land has the council identified as contaminated?
As part of our contaminated land strategy we have a duty to maintain a public register. This will include details of regulatory action we have taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to contamination.
When we identify a site as being contaminated land there is a formal determination process. We then have to set about having the site brought to a condition that does not pose a risk of harm.
At present our public register has no entries.
Environmental Information Requests (EIR)
Environmental information about a specific area of land or property may be obtained by submitting an Environmental Information Request to us.
We are able to answer such questions only where they relate to known facts and information regarding our work under the Contaminated land legislation.
We are not able to act in the role of a consultant providing interpretation of facts or advice to purchasers that goes beyond our duties under the legislation.
How to submit an Environmental Information Request
Please supply the following information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The address of the land in question
- A map showing the location of the land
- Clear markings showing the boundary of the land
- Any reasonable and specific questions regarding the land
Under the regulations, we have 20 working days in which to respond and there is a fee for an EIR. Payment can be made by calling 01424 451079.
If the request is particularly long or complicated you will be advised of any additional costs for staff time.
How and what information will be provided
We will make a search of our records and provide what environmental information is available.
If we do not hold the information you are seeking we will suggest alternative agencies that you may approach if appropriate.
Should you require historic planning or building control information, you will need to contact the planning department directly.
What is the council's responsibility?
The government introduced legislation in 2000 that required local authorities to produce a contaminated land strategy laying out how they inspect land in their areas for contamination and how they will deal with any contamination that is identified.
View the council's Contaminated Land Strategy [.pdf]
Our strategy describes how we will identify and prioritise sites for further investigation, as well as information about liability, enforcement and remediation; and contacts that we draw on for advice and expertise when we conduct investigations.
The following sites contain further information about contaminated land: