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Contaminated Land Part 1 – The Basics

Andrew Wiseman 17 mins

Andrew Wiseman 17 mins

28th April 2020

Under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1999, 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

In order to determine the land as ‘contaminated land’, there must be a significant pollutant linkage, where there is a source, pathway and receptor linkage. Local Authorities and the Environment Agency are the regulating bodies and must inspect all potentially contaminative sources within their district. They have to identify and prioritise sites using the above principle. If any sites present a significant potential of causing significant harm to human health or controlled waters, then the council will need to investigate and if contaminant levels are above the recommended guidelines, then the site would be determined and would need to be remediated.

This module covers:

  • What is contaminated land?
  • What is the difference between land contamination and contaminated land?
  • Who pays for the cleanup?
  • How is it managed through the planning process
  • Due diligence
  • Contractual protection


  • You will be able to understand what contaminated land is and how it is defined under current legislation
  • You will know who is responsible for cleaning up the land
  • You will understand how contaminated land is investigated and how this has changed in recent years

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