Contaminated land assessment
Last Updated: 23 August 2023
Used to safeguard human health and the environment, including controlled waters. The contaminated land report should evaluate any risks arising from potential contamination and set out remediation measures to be considered on the basis of both the existing and proposed land use.
Where the land is known or suspected to be contaminated or where the development site is close to such land and ground works are proposed.
Where the end user of the development is considered to be sensitive to contamination (for example: housing, schools, nurseries, hospitals, open space, children's play areas, allotments and highly sensitive groundwater used for potable supply).
For validation purposes a Stage One desk study, site walkover and preliminary risk assessment is the minimum requirement.
Contents of a contaminated land assessment
This information is required to determine the existence of contaminated land, the nature of the contamination and the risks it may pose to the proposed development and whether remedial measures are feasible to reduce the contamination to an acceptable level.
Uses and land highly likely to be contaminated:
- smelters, foundries, steel works, metal processing and finishing works
- coal and mineral mining and processing, both deep mines and opencast
- heavy engineering works (car manufacture, shipbuilding)
- military related activities
- electrical and electronic equipment manufacture and repair
- gasworks, coal processing plants and power stations
- oil refineries, petroleum storage and distribution sites
- manufacture and use of asbestos, cement, lime and gypsum
- manufacture of organic and inorganic chemicals, including pesticides, acids, alkalis, pharmaceuticals, solvents, paints, detergents and cosmetics
- rubber industry, including tyre manufacture
- munitions and explosives production and testing and storage sites
- glass making and ceramics manufacture
- textile industry, including tanning and dyestuffs
- paper and pulp manufacture, printing works and photographic processing
- timber treatment
- food processing industry and catering establishments
- railway depots, dockyards (including filled dock basins), garages, road haulage depots and airports
- landfill, storage and incineration of waste
- sewage works, farms, stables and kennels
- abattoirs, animal waste processing and burial of diseased livestock
- scrap yards
- dry cleaning premises
- all types of laboratories
Uses and land might possibly be contaminated:
- industry involving radioactive substances
- burial sites and graveyards
- agriculture – excessive use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, sewage sludge and farm waste
- naturally occurring radioactivity (including radon)
- naturally occurring concentrations of metals and other substances
- methane and carbon dioxide production and emissions in coalmining areas, wetlands, peat moors or former wetlands
The investigation and risk assessment of contaminated land is split into three stages:
- Desk study, site walkover and preliminary risk assessment.
- Intrusive site investigation and detailed risk assessment.
- Remediation strategy, risk management, validation report and monitoring.
For more information please see our Contaminated Land Strategy (PDF 636KB / 42 pages).