Contaminated land contains substances that are actually or potentially hazardous to health or the environment. A contaminated land assessment is used to evaluate the potential for a pollution linkage and to consider the level of risk and whether any actions are required to manage or mitigate the risk.
A contaminated land risk assessment is required as part of a planning application or to discharge planning conditions imposed by a local planning authority, the Environment Agency or the National House Building Council. These are very common for brownfield land, but could be applied wherever there is a history of past industrial use.
Contaminated land risk assessments are also used to investigate potential environmental liabilities or if a regulatory authority requires an assessment to investigate a potential or on-going pollution issue (for example, if a site is being investigated under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990).
Regulatory bodies such the Environment Agency and the local planning authorities apply the “source-pathway-target” pollutant linkage when assessing the risk to sensitive receptors.
Land is declared contaminated if:
- It contains significant levels of a pollutant (known as the source).
- Someone or something (known as the target or receptor) could be affected by the pollutant.
- The pollutant can get to the receptor in significant quantities (known as the pathway).
Contaminated land risk assessments generally follows a phased approach. The investigation and remediation process is usually split into four separate phases or stages. A phase 1 desktop report identifies if there are any likely risks of contaminated land from past industrial land use.
EnviroSmart reports provide a range of options to obtain a good understanding of the site’s history, setting and potential to be affected by contamination. The desk report can be enhanced with a site visit and a detailed review of the planning history.
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