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Contaminated Land

Introduction

Contaminated land is a legacy from our past and results from residues left by activities such as waste disposal and general industrial processes. In most cases the risks associated with living on such sites are low however in extreme situations such land may pose a risk to health or the wider environment.

The effects of land pollution on human health and on the environment will depend on the type and amount of contaminant involved. Consequently a site will only be legally determined as contaminated land when it has been scientifically shown that the amount of a particular contaminant present constitutes a significant threat to health or the wider environment.

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The Approach in Poole

The Council has a strategy to identify, inspect and risk assess land that may be contaminated within the Borough. For further information you can view our 'Contaminated Land Strategy'.

As well as identifying contaminated land the Council have a statutory role to:

  • establish who bears responsibility for the remediation (clean up) of contaminated land;
  • determine what remediation should take place, and ensure that such clean up takes place either through agreement or, where necessary, enforcement.
  • oversee the safe redevelopment of contaminated sites through the planning regime.

In addition we also provide current and historical environmental information with regard to specific sites via our contaminated land/environmental search facility.

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Responsibility for Clean up

  • The legislation and Government guidance states that the original polluter of a piece of land is primarily responsible for the site’s remediation in the first instance.
  • In circumstances where the original polluter (either an individual or a limited company) cannot be found or the relevant company is no longer in existence then the responsibility for clean up may fall to the current landowner or occupier.
  • In some cases the Council may have been responsible for the contamination. In such a case the Council will be responsible for the investigation and remediation of the site.

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Standards of Remediation

  • If a piece of land is found to be contaminated, it must be restored to a state in which it is “suitable for use”, this will be determined by the use of the land.
  • For example, more rigorous clean up targets will be required for domestic gardens than for a site that is to be used for industrial warehouses as the risks of contact of individuals with the contamination is likely to be greater.
  • The clean up targets will also consider any risks to the environment, particularly watercourses and groundwater.  

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Redevelopment of contaminated sites

  • Where a change of use is proposed for land that may be contaminated e.g. the redevelopment of a former industrial site, the planning process will ensure that the contamination issues are addressed prior to the redevelopment of the site.
  • In such cases it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that the development is safe and suitable for the proposed use, this can be enforced by the council by imposing an appropriate planning condition.  

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Public Register

The Council are required to keep a public register to act as a full and permanent record of all regulatory action taken by the Council in respect of the remediation of contaminated land. This is available for inspection during normal office hours at our offices. 

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Previous Site Investigations

The Council is currently undertaking site investigations in line with legislation and our Contaminated Land Strategy at:

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Useful links

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Contact us

Email
environment@poole.gov.uk

Telephone
01202 261700

Text Relay
18001 01202 261700

Address
Environmental Services
Unit 1
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
Poole
BH17 0NF