Contaminated land is a legacy from our past and results from residues left by activities such as waste disposal and industrial processes. In most cases the risks associated with living on such sites are low, however in extreme situations such land may pose a risk to health or the wider environment. The effects of land pollution on human health and on the environment will depend on the type and amount of contaminant involved. Consequently a site will only be legally determined as contaminated land when it has been scientifically shown that the amount of a particular contaminant present in the soil constitutes a significant threat to health or the wider environment.
Under Part IIA contaminated land is defined as: “Any land which appears to the Local Authority in whose area it is situated to be in such a condition, by means 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
(b) Pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused.”
The assessment and management of contaminated land is based on the principles of risk assessment and looks at a Source-Pathway-Receptor relationship or pollutant linkage. These are defined as:
· Source is the contaminant in, on or under the land that has the potential to cause significant harm or pollution of controlled waters:
· Pathway is the route by which the contaminant can reach the receptor; and
· Receptor is defined as living organisms, ecological systems or property that may be harmed.
Without a source-pathway-receptor pollutant linkage, there is considered to be no risk and the land in question cannot be determined to be contaminated land. Where land is determined as contaminated land, remediation (clean up) will be necessary to break the pollutant linkages by removing or treating the contaminant, removing or blocking the pathway or removing or protecting the receptor.
Contaminated land and planning
Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 introduced a new regime for the identification and remediation of contaminated land. The purpose of this regime is to address the historical legacy of contaminated land which is not currently being addressed by any other legislation such as the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. For more information on how contaminated land relates to the planning process use the following link – Contaminated Land and Planning. The responsibility for administering and enforcing the Contaminated Land Regulations 2006 lies primarily with local authorities and the Environment Agency with input from several other organisations. Local authorities are required to take a strategic approach to inspecting land within their area that meets the definition of contaminated land (except in the case of radioactively contaminated land).
Contamination of land may be attributed to previous or current contaminative uses of the land, its proximity to other contaminated sites and waste landfills. However, contamination does not occur solely as a result of human activities and land can be contaminated by natural sources. In parts of Daventry district the underlying geology consists of Northamptonshire Sand with Ironstone, which may contain elevated concentrations of naturally occurring Arsenic. To obtain more information on the presence of Arsenic and its implications for the planning process use the following link:- Arsenic and Planning.
More information about contaminated land is available through the following links:
Daventry District Council’s Contaminated Land Strategy is available using the following link:-
If you have any queries regarding contaminated land click on the link below, provide us with your contact details and the nature of your enquiry and the Council's Contaminated Land Officer will contact you.