The Council have undertaken investigations into the Cinderhill Acid Tar Pits site, with a view to establishing if the site should be determined as Contaminated Land, as defined by section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The attached documents include a report by W S Atkins, who performed a risk assessment of the site, on behalf of the Council.

Also attached is a draft copy of the Record of Determination. This is a document the Council are required to produce when Determining a site as Contaminated Land.

The decision to Determine the site as Contaminated Land was made by Full Council, on 14th February 2007. The report that was considered by this committee is attached.

During the debate at the above meeting 2 questions were raised by members and were subsequently responded to in writing. Details are given below:

Cllr I Fisher
Question - If the Borough Council needed a warrant to get access to the land at Cinderhill, does it need a warrant to fence it?

Response - As the site has now formally been Determined as 'Contaminated Land' and is in the process of being Designated a 'Special Site' and passed to the Environment Agency (the 'Agency') as lead regulator, it will be the responsibility of the Agency to assess the risks that have been identified and to undertake any suitable remedial works to mitigate that risk. This may involve fencing the area identified, but the decision as to what remedial works are appropriate, the timescale for their completion and access arrangements will rest with the Agency.

Cllr N Mills
Question - What is the designation of land at Cinderhill as 'contaminated' going to achieve? Would it mean that the Environment Agency clean up the land and pay for it?

Response - This is covered in the report but essentially the Council has a statutory duty to investigate any site that poses an 'imminent risk of significant harm' and to Determine it as Contaminated Land. Once the site has been Determined, in the case of a 'Special Site', the process operates as detailed above. The extent of remediation and any costs involved would be a matter for the Agency.

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