Ryedale District Council

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Contaminated land

Ryedale is predominantly a rural area; however, over the years, industrial activities or past waste disposal practices have resulted in contamination of some areas of land.

Part II A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was introduced as part of the Government's policy of sustainable development to deal with the UK's legacy of land contamination, both man-made and natural. It aims to ensure that land is 'suitable for use', namely that its current use poses no unacceptable risk to human health and/or the environment.

Local authorities are the main regulators of contaminated land. There are two main routes by which contamination of land is dealt with:

1. Planning and Development Control; and

2. Part II A of the Environmental Protection Act, 1990.

What is contaminated land?

Under Part II A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the statutory definition of contaminated land is:

'Land which appears to the local authority in whose area it is situated to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land, that:

  • significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; or
  • pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused.

In summary, contaminated land is land that has within it, on or under its surface, any chemicals or other substances that pose a significant risk to human health, underground waters, surface waters, ecological systems, buildings or other property.

Under Part II A of the Environmental Protection Act, the local authority is responsible for the identification of contaminated land and to ensure that such sites are restored/remediated.

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Development of Contaminated Land

The potential for land contamination is a material planning consideration for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Dealing with contaminated land through the Development Control process will continue to play an important role in identifying and restoring any contaminated land.

The Government's position is that redevelopment is the most appropriate and cost effective time to address the issue of land contamination. Requirements for site investigations and restoration identified in relation to development control will be dealt with under planning legislation as opposed to the Part II A Contaminated Land Regime.

Advice for dealing with contaminated land via this route is contained in Planning Policy Statement 23: Annex 2 - Development on land affected by contamination.

We are increasingly dealing with planning applications for developments on previously used land often referred to as 'brownfield land'. In many cases these sites are affected by the presence of contamination due to historic industrial processes.

To ensure safe development, all planning applications are considered for potential contamination. If there is a potential that the land could be contaminated, recommendations will be made to the planning officer advising that planning conditions be imposed if the application is approved.

The Yorkshire and Humberside Pollution Advisory Council have produced a leaflet entitled 'Development on Land Affected by Contamination -Technical Guidance for Developers, Landowners and Consultants' describing the information required in order to assess a planning application on land which may be affected by the presence of contamination.

A copy of this leaflet is available from the council offices or may be downloaded from the link on the right. We are always willing to discuss information requirements (both pre and post application) with developers and any queries regarding developing on contaminated land.

It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that a development is safe and 'suitable for use' for the purpose for which it is intended as indicated in PPS23 - Annex 2: Development for Contaminated Land Guidance for Developing on Contaminated Land.

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Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part II A

On 1 April 2000, under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a new regulatory regime came into force.

The main objective of this was to provide an improved system for the identification and restoration of land where contamination is causing unacceptable risk to human health or the wider environment, assessed in the context of current use and circumstances.

Local authorities have been made the main regulatory bodies under the Part II A regime. Local authorities now have a statutory duty to ensure their areas are inspected in order to identify contaminated land.

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) Circular 01/2006, Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part IIA Contaminated Land contains the statutory guidance concerning local authorities' inspection duty.

The guidance details the requirements for local authorities to develop a strategic approach to inspection and for the production and content of a published strategy document. The guidance states that the determination of whether any land appears to be contaminated is the sole responsibility of the local authority.

The local authority role covers the following key tasks:

  • prepare and publish an inspection strategy;
  • ensure inspection of their areas to identify contaminated land;
  • ensure remediation of contaminated land;
  • transfer special sites to the Environment Agency
  • maintain a Public Register of regulatory action.

The statutory guidance requires each local authority to adopt a strategic approach to the identify land that requires detailed individual inspection.

Environmental Information Request

We offer an Environmental Search facility of all records and information sources available to the authority. For a fee, we can provide a written response to enquiries regarding land contamination and/or proximity to closed landfill sites for a particular site.

This service is for environmental information only. The council is unable to issue Environmental Certificates or guarantees about particular sites within the district in relation to contaminated land.

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Further Information and Contact Details

If you have any questions or concerns then please contact The Environmental Protection Team on 01653 600666.


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Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House, Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

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You are here: Home All services Environment and waste Pollution Contaminated land