How is contaminated land identified?

Potential risks from contaminated land are assessed through a phased approach.

The first stage includes:

  • A desk top study which is a review of the history and environmental setting of the site
  • A site walkover which identifies the current condition and use of the site
  • Any possible contaminant linkages that could be present depending on the current or proposed use if the site is going to be developed
  • An assessment of the potential risks from the site using this information

This study is usually carried out by an environmental consultant who will produce a written report. If you are going to commission this type of report it is important that you explain to the consultant why you need one.

This report may identify some risks to people and the environment and recommend a second stage of assessment is undertaken.

The second stage of assessment typically includes a site investigation, where samples of the soil and water on the site are collected and analysed. This provides information on the actual contamination present in the ground, where they are on the site and the soil types found.

Once the first stage has been completed we strongly recommend that you contact our Contaminated Land Officer to discuss the findings and recommendations before the second stage of assessment is undertaken.

Once a complete assessment of a site has been finished then a remediation strategy, to clean up the site and reduce any unacceptable risks, can be designed and implemented.

Last updated: Tuesday, 9 February, 2021.