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Contaminated Land

Source - Pathway - Receptor

Environmental Health (Environmental Protection), Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7PA. Tel - 023 8028 5411 - option 2; Email -

A historical legacy of the industrial revolution has left many parts of the UK, including New Forest, with a chemicals in the ground that have the potential to cause harm to human health, water courses, eco-systems and the built environment. Such sources of contamination maybe from Industrial process i.e. chemical works, brick works or gas works, Waste Disposal i.e. landfill sites and Accidental Spillages.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires New Forest District Council to take action to deal with contaminated land within their district.

New Forest District Council, specifically the Environmental Protection Department , has completed an initial inspection of the sites that are potentially contaminated within the district and identified the risk they pose to human health.

Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

The primary regulatory role under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 rests with Local Authorities. This compliments the role of Local Authorities as planning authorities. We have five main tasks under the act. These are:

  1. To cause the district to be inspected for contaminated land from time to time;

  2. To record prescribed information about contaminated land in a public register;

  3. To establish who should bear responsibility for the remediation of land associated with contamination;

  4. To decide, following consultation, what remediation is required and ensure it takes place through agreement or, where necessary, enforcement; and

  5. To determine who should bear what proportion of the liability for meeting remediation costs.

All councils throughout the country are legally obliged to produce a adobe icon Contaminated Land Strategy [1Mb]. We have developed our strategy in accordance with government guidelines. Our strategy has recently been updated to reflect current Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance, and set out the council's current position with the prioritisation process and expected future progress. The extensive work completed to date has identified and prioritised potentially contaminated land within the district.

The Council is required to undertake a risk assessment of all the potentially contaminated sites within the district. We have established a database with all the historic and current land uses within the New Forest which have been mapped on our GIS system.

The process of risk assessment involves understanding the risks presented by land, and the associated uncertainties. The process should continue until it is possible for the Local Authority to decide:

1.That there is insufficient evidence that the land might be contaminated to justify further inspection and assessment; and/or

2.Whether or not the land is contaminated land

All potentially contaminated sites have been risk assessed as set out in our Contaminated Land Strategy resulting in a complete list of all potentially contaminated sites and their level of risk. Only those sites where evidence that an unacceptable risk to human health could reasonably exist will then be investigated further. As such the Council is not currently proactively pursuing detailed inspections of high priority sites due the evidence presented to date, and in addition to prohibitively costly intrusive site investigations and the removal of the Contaminated Land Capital Grants Scheme which ceased in April 2017. However, should further evidence be obtained concerning high priority sites, then the Council 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 land owner 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 any building work that involves breaking ground you, you must taken 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.

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 look to identify any Sources of Contamination at the site, the Receptors i.e. human 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 the Developers Guide to Development on Potentially Contaminated Landwhich 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.

Where is the Contaminated Land?

A database of the potentially contaminated sites within the 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. 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.

Currently there are no entries on the Register.

What does this mean for me?

As a developer this means that 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 this department for further information.

As a home owner this also means that 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 recommend that you employ a suitable contaminated land consultant who can undertake an appropriate investigation as necessary.

What information does the Council hold?

The Local Authority holds 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 can undertake a Contaminated Land Search 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. Please contact us for further information.

There is a charge for releasing this information. please refer to the fees and charges booklet.

This department will also deal with complaints of contaminated land.


Other useful links

Contaminated Land Overview

Land Contamination - Technical Guidance

adobe icon Contaminated Land Strategy 2018 [1Mb]

adobe icon Development on Potentially Contaminated Land - Technical guidance for Developers, Landowners and Consultants [642kb]

Updated: 15 Aug 2018
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