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Environmental Issues

Contaminated land is land that has been polluted by substances such as chemicals, gases, oil or asbestos, and poses a significant threat to:

  • people or animals

  • waters (rivers, lakes and groundwater)

  • ecosystems

  • property.

Our role

Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a number of requirements on us. These include:

  • carrying out inspections to identify contaminated land

  • determining if land is contaminated land

  • acting as the enforcing authority for contaminated land that is not designated as a ‘special site’

  • determining who is responsible for the remediation of contaminated land

  • deciding what remediation is required and making sure that it is carried out

  • establishing who is responsible for paying the cost of the remediation work

  • keeping a public register about our regulatory activity.

Further information on our role and responsibilities can be found in our Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy [PDF, 0.4MB].

View the contaminated land public register [XLSX, 13Kb].

The role of the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is responsible for:

  • helping us identify contaminated land, particularly in cases where water pollution is involved
  • in exceptional circumstances, providing us with site specific guidance on contaminated land and the remediation of contaminated land
  • acting as the enforcing authority for any land designated by us as a special site 
  • preparing reports for DEFRA on contaminated land.

You can find more information on contaminated land on the Environment Agency’s website.