The value of land can be very high, and the law and guidance on it can be complex. This page of advice should not be replied upon for any formal legal purposes, but instead, should take your own advice from relevant professionals if anything important is at stake.
Human activity can leave behind effects on land as much as it can affect the atmosphere or the water environment. Most land in the UK has been affected in some way by human activity, but nearly all land remains perfectly suitable for its current use.
Changing land use: Development, Planning, and Building Control
Often land use has to change, and it is sensible to check that the changes do not give rise to any new risks.
The main responsibility will be with land-owners, but the Council is involved in this when changes require planning permission or building Regulations approval. Where the Council thinks that there could be a risk, conditions will be put on approvals to make sure that the risk is properly assessed and if need be, addressed.
- Land Affected by Contamination (pdf) - technical guidance for applicants and developers
- Contaminated Land Public Register (pdf)
- Contaminated Land Strategy (pdf)
Risk from existing uses
Rarely, the condition of land is a risk to human health or the environment without any change taking place. It is sensible to check to see if there is any evidence of this, and to counter risk when found. As part of its duty under the Environmental Protection Act, the Council adopted a Contaminated Land Strategy and following national guidance, has looked for land that has a history of use that might have caused serious contamination, where there is evidence of risk under existing circumstances. No sites that needed intervention, and to be formally registered under the legislation as “Contaminated Land”, were found.