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Identification and Inspection of Contaminated Land

The Council has a duty to inspect land in the County to identify any that is contaminated. If, following a series of site investigations and risk assessments, it is decided that a piece of land is contaminated; we must ensure that it is dealt with in an appropriate manner.  The law relating to Contaminated Land is Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Land is only to be considered “contaminated” if it causes an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. This assessment has to be carried out looking at the current, or planned, use of the land.  Any remediation should be carried out to a “suitable for use” standard. The law also provides detailed rules on fixing liability for those who caused the contamination and any clean-up must be based on the “polluter pays” principle.

For there to be a risk to human health or the environment there has to be a “pollution linkage” which only occurs if all three of the following elements are present:-

A contaminant – a substance that is in, on or under the land and has the potential to cause harm or to cause pollution of controlled waters

A receptor – in general terms, something that could be adversely affected by a contaminant, such as people, an ecological system, property, or a water body

A pathway – a route or means by which a receptor can be exposed to, or affected by a contaminant

The Welsh Government and DEFRA have published guidance to councils on strategies for land inspection and on actions to be taken in deciding if land is contaminated and, if so, what remediation should be carried out to the land.

Please see Monmouthshire Council’s Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy 2017 for further information on our approach to the investigation of potential land contamination

Any land declared Contaminated Land must be recorded on a Contaminated Land Public Register.

To date Monmouthshire County Council has not declared any land as “Contaminated” under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and therefore there are no entries on a register.

We hold records which can be used to assess potentially contaminated land.  The information we hold can be obtained through Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), but may only be used for non-commercial, research or review purposes.  You can visit our offices to view the information during office hours. Please contact us to make an appointment.  Under the EIR we have 20 days to respond to your request.

If you need our officers to review the information and provide a written response, there is a minimum charge of £60 for this work, depending on the complexity of your request.

Please contact Environmental Health to make a formal environmental information request and for details of the cost involved and how to pay.

Development of Potentially Contaminated Land

Anyone wishing to build on or develop land that could be contaminated will have to undertake a structured series of procedures that include site investigations and risk assessments to identify if any contaminants are present and if so if there are pathways for the contamination to reach the proposed end user (a pollution linkage).

If a pollution linkage exists remediation will have to be undertaken to remove the contamination or block the pathway.  A validation report would then be required to show that the remediation has removed the risk.

This structured framework is designed to aid decision making and is fully described in the Environment Agency Guidance Model Procedures for the Management of Contaminated Land (CLR11).

The entire process is generally handled under the planning regime with conditions imposed on planning consent to undertake the above work.

The Environmental Health Department work with two Planning Authorities (Monmouthshire County Council Planning Department and Brecon Beacons National Park) to ensure that any land to be used for new developments have been fully investigated and if necessary cleaned up to make them safe for the proposed use.

Further guidance can be found in:

Development of Land Affected by Contamination: A Guide for Developers  (English language) (Welsh Language)

The Development of Potential Contaminated Land: Guidance for Developers

Anyone considering developing land that has had the potential to be contaminated by the previous use of the land or nearby land, is encouraged to contact Environmental Health and the relevant Planning Authority at the earliest stages of the proposed development.

For further information please contact Environmental Health