Contaminated Land falls into 2 categories.
Land Affected by Contamination
Most sites in the UK will fall into this category and will contain some amount of contamination from various sources such as vehicle exhasts, storage, even the spreading of manure. The presence of contaminates does not mean that there is a problem, in most cases there is a minimal or negligable risk from living or working on these sites.
Land Which Meets the Statutory Definition of "Contaminated Land"
The statutory definition is given by section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended as
any land which appears to the local authority in whose area it is situated to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land, that—
(a)significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; or
(b)pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused;
Further guidance on how councils determine if sites meet the defintion is given in the Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance
Our duties regarding contaminated land
The council has a duty to
produce a Contaminated Land Strategy defining how the council will identify sites which potentially meet the definition of "Contamainted Land" as defined by section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended and how it will prioritise and conducte their inspection.
To investigate sites inline with its Contaminated Land Strategy
where it feels a site meets the definition of "Contaminated Land". The council will liaise with the liable person to create a voluntary agreement to take action on the site. If the liable party does not choose to undertake remdiation a legal notice can be served requiring the remediation to take place and the properties involved with be placed on the public register of contaminated land.
The council has a duty to keep a public register of sites which have been subject to a remediation notice.
There are currently no entries on the public register.
Remediation of contaminated land
We would look to make the polluter pay for the clean up of a polluted area and pay for the damage caused by the contaminated land. This is in line with the government policy on making the polluter pay for pollution they have caused, known as the ‘polluter pays principle’.
Under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, attributes the cost of remediation to an "Appropriate Person(s)". "Appropriate Person(s)" can be classified as Class A and Class B persons. Class A persons are those people that may have caused the contamination or those that have knowingly permitted a pollutant to be in, or under the land (e.g. a developer, or business). If these people cannot be located then responsibility may default to a Class B person defined as the current landowner
Developing potentially contaminated sites
The council has produced a Guide for Developers of Potentially Contaminated Sites to help ensure that their duties are meet. Developers are requires to ensure developments are suitable for their intended use by
- the Planning regieme
- the Building Regulations