Thousands of sites may have been contaminated by previous industrial use, often associated with traditional processes which are no longer used.
These sites may present a hazard to human health or the environment, but there is a growing need to reclaim and redevelop.
What is land contamination?
The term 'land contamination' covers a wide range of situations where land is contaminated in some way. In a small number of these situations where certain criteria are met, a site might be determined 'contaminated land' which has a specific legal definition set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act.
All over the UK, there are thousands of sites that have been contaminated by previous use. Often this is associated with industrial processes or activities that have now ceased, but where waste products or remaining residues present a hazard to the general environment.
There is increasing pressure to reuse land which is affected by contamination rather than develop greenfield sites such as parks or woodland.
What are the Council doing about land contamination?
Telford & Wrekin Council's Environmental Health team have recently completed a revision of the Council's Contaminated Land Strategy. This document sets out how the Council intends to address the legacy of land contamination within the borough.
Please note: The Contaminated Land Strategy is currently under review and therefore has been removed from the website. Please check back soon to view the document.
This revised document reflects the numerous changes in legislation, statutory and non-statutory guidance, and case law since the contaminated land regime was inserted into UK legislation in 2000.
It is widely acknowledged that remediation via the planning regime is the Governments' preferred option, allowing the redeveloper to pay for the cost of such, and many sites remediation's are scrutinised by the Environmental Health Department as part of the planning regime every year.
Other sites requiring further investigation will be dealt with proactively in a risk based manner. At the time of writing, 12 of some 1200 sites of potential concern have been inspected via part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Completed investigations of contaminated land
The Environmental Health department have now concluded their investigation of the former Stoneyhill landfill site, after being granted a total of £73,000 by Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for the investigations.
The investigation has included the following lines of investigation:
- trace gas analysis and subsequent emissions modelling
- gap assessment and scoping document
- updated site conceptual model
- landfill gas and human health
- DSEAR assessment
- combined gas and leachate pumping trial
- overall conclusions.
Download the Stoneyhill investigation report.
The Engineering & Environment Section of the Council, who are responsible for the management of the site, have recently secured monies to implement all of the conclusions of the above report, including the replacement of the flare, connection to public sewer to treat the leachate, and new borehole infrastructure.