What is contaminated land? - Development on Land Potentially Affected by Contamination

It is government policy that most land affected by the presence of contamination will be dealt with during the planning process. For planning purposes land contamination has a wider meaning. For any new development the developer is responsible for identifying potential risks to future occupiers of the site.

The actual or possible presence of contamination is a material planning consideration. In many cases it will be an advantage to determine whether there are likely to be any contamination issues on site before submitting an application for planning consent. This may involve a basic historical land use search and site walk over. On large scale developments it could form part of a pre-application enquiry where any necessary investigations can be determined prior to submitting a planning application. On any site where there is the potential for contamination to exist, the Planning Department will consult with the Pollution Control team.

We are mainly concerned with risks to human health and ensuring that the proposed development will be suitable for use.

Although Local Authorities have sole responsibility for determining land as contaminated, the Environment Agency is responsible for the subsequent regulation of certain Part 2A sites. These are designated as ‘special sites’. These sites may be contaminated by virtue of the pollution of controlled waters, or the contamination by certain processes or are sites owned by the Ministry of Defence.

A Guide for Developing Land has been produced by the Nottinghamshire Contaminated Land Sub-Group. The Environment Agency and DEFRA also have useful information on contaminated land.

When a house is bought or sold an environmental search is usually conducted. This may result in some contaminated land issues being flagged up depending on the historic use of the site and surrounding area. The pollution control team hold a large amount of information on various sites with contamination issues around the district, who can provide a report giving an assessment of any concerns, likelihood of being investigated and risks to health. This information can then be used to progress the conveyance of a property, provide information to obtain liability insurance or provide peace of mind.



Last Updated on Monday, March 20, 2023