Throughout the UK there are thousands of sites, which have suffered from the legacy of our industrial past. Darlington Borough Council, like all councils in England and Wales is now in the process of identifying any contaminated land and determining if the contamination is causing unacceptable risks to human health and the wider environment.
To date, The Council has identified approximately 1600 “potentially contaminated sites” and has undertaken inspections and assessments at 600 sites, determining all of them to be “Not Contaminated Land” as defined by Part 2A of the Contaminated Sites Act 1990 (DEFRA Statutory Guidance, 2012). The remaining sites continue to be prioritised and assessed in accordance with the procedures set out in The Council’s “Contaminated Sites Inspection Strategy” (January 2013) and this process is likely to continue until 2017 and beyond.
What work is carried out by Darlington Borough Council with regard to land contamination?
1. Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy [pdf document, 2mb]
Under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which came into force in England on 1 April 2000, Local Authorities were required to publish a written Strategy for inspecting their areas with the purpose of identifying land which is potentially contaminated. In accordance with these requirements Darlington Borough Council has published a Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy, dated January 2013.
There are no ongoing site investigation works currently being carried out by Darlington Borough Council. The Council has previously investigated 4 former landfill sites which have been determined as not being contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The Council holds and maintains a range of environmental information obtained from several sources, including historical maps, borehole records, previous investigative reports and remedial works. Other national search agencies would not necessarily have such local information available. This information can be requested by anyone who is wishing to find out more information with regard to potential land contamination on or surrounding a site or property within the Borough.
The Council strongly advises that an “Environmental Search” is obtained, prior to the purchase, lease or development of any land or property within the Borough.
Darlington Borough Council has adopted YAHPAC technical guidance on the development of land affected by contamination to assist developers, landowners and consultants with the planning process.
The investigation, assessment, clean up and management of land affected by contamination is technically complex and should only be undertaken by a Competent Person. In order to assist practitioners engaged in land contamination work The Council refers closely to the standards and requirements set out in Planning Practice Guidance and current best practice.
The Council expects all new land contamination reports submitted to the Council for planning purposes meet the minimum standards set out in published standards, guidelines and best practices and a completed “Compliance Checklist” (YAHPAC, January 2014) be included within every new report submitted to the Council for planning and development purposes.