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Contaminated land

If land is contaminated it can pose a risk to people and the local environment.

We are responsible for identifying contaminated land.

We also ensure that land contamination is dealt with as part of our planning and development control policies.

What is contaminated land

Sites such as former factories, railways, industrial works or refineries could be affected. Landfill sites and places where there are high levels of naturally occurring contamination such as radon, methane or arsenic are also affected.

Land is legally defined as 'contaminated land' where substances are causing or could cause:

  • significant harm to people, property or protected species
  • significant pollution of surface waters (for example lakes and rivers) or groundwater
  • harm to people as a result of radioactivity

This may mean that the can be contaminated by things like:

  • heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium and lead
  • oils and tars
  • chemical substances and preparations, like solvents
  • gases
  • asbestos
  • radioactive substances

Land development

If you're developing or buying land you'll have to deal with the contamination either:

  • before you get planning permission
  • as part of the development

You can find some technical guidance on the management of contaminated land including how to investigate, assess and manage the risks on GOV.UK.

How to find out if land is contaminated

You can contact our Environmental Health team and we can provide information on the contaminated land status of a property or piece of land in relation to Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Our constraints map (opens new window)  provides information on the location of landfill sites within the district.

We also publish a brownfield land register of sites in the district that have been previously developed.

If you are buying or selling a property you can speak to your solicitor who can carry out an environmental search on your behalf.


Additional information

More information on contaminated land on GOV.UK