Amber Valley Borough Council have two areas of responsibility
for land pollution. These are:
- Investigate potentially contaminated land
- Ensure that developers investigate any potentially contaminated
land that may be subject of a planning application or a planning
Contaminated Land, Potentially Contaminated Land and Land
Affected by Contamination.
The terms Contaminated Land,
Potentially Contaminated Land and Land Affected by Contamination
may appear to have the same meanings, but in terms of the
legislation they have very different meanings.
Contaminated Land is defined by
section 78A(2) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, this was
retrospectively inserted by the Environment Act 1995. This relates
solely to sites that have been investigated by the Council in
accordance the Contaminated Land (England) Regulations
2006. A site must first be investigated and then
'Determined' by the Council before it is formally recognised as
contaminated land. This legislation aims to address the legacy of
land contamination from historic activities.
If any Contaminated Land also fits
a description of a Special Site the Council must 'Designate' it as
such. If the Environment Agency agrees with the 'Designation' they
become the enforcement authority for the site. If the Environment
Agency disagrees with the 'Designation', the matter is then
determined by a government appointed inspector.
Potentially Contaminated Land.
This is land that the local
authority believes may fit the definition of contaminated land, and
requires further investigation. Investigations required to
determine a site as contaminated land are lengthy and complex,
therefore local authorities must therefore take a strategic
approach to the identification of land which merits detailed
This approach should:
(a) be rational, ordered and
(b) be proportionate to the
seriousness of any actual or potential risk;
(c) seek to ensure that the most
pressing and serious problems are located first;
(d) ensure that resources are
concentrated on investigating in areas where the authority is most
likely to identify contaminated land; and
(e) ensure that the Council
efficiently identifies requirements for the detailed inspection of
particular areas of land.
Land Affected by Contamination.
Land affected by contamination is a description used in Planning
Policy Statement 23: Planning and Pollution Control (
PPS23) describes land that is potentially contaminated
land, or is contaminated land, which is subject to the requirements
of the Town and Country Planning Act
1990, as it is involved in a planning application or the
granting of planning permission.
More information can be found in
the Council's Strategy for Inspection of Contaminated
Land, and in the following FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Contaminated Land,
Potentially Contaminated Land and Land Affected by
How can I find out if the land is contaminated land?
A public register held by the
Council in accordance with Section 78(R) of the Environmental
Protection Act 1990 is available. It records information on sites
that have been formally determined as contaminated land and have
been subject to a remediation statement, a remediation agreement or
a remediation notice. The register will also record the
'Designation' of Special Sites. Therefore it is not a register of
contaminated land, it is a register of the actions taken, or
proposed to be taken, in order to remediate contaminated land.
The public register can be accessed
from the Contaminated Land web
An enquiry to the Council's Local
Land Charges section, as part of a land search, which is normally
carried out as part of a property transaction, would also confirm
if the subject property was on land that had been formally
determined as contaminated land.
Neither the public register or the
Local Land Charges enquires will offer information regarding
potentially contaminated land sites. See the paragraphs below, for
information on such sites.
How can I find out if the land is potentially
Most often land is considered to be
potentially contaminated land due to its former uses. Therefore any
source of information that provides a history of a site can give an
indication as to whether the site could fit the definition of
contaminated land. Such sources could include historic maps, trade
directories, and local history texts, and may be available from the
library service, county archives and the Internet.
To obtain information from the
Council about whether land is potentially contaminated you should
request a site-specific search.
To find out what sites the Council
are considering as potential contaminated land in a specific
locality you can write and request for a site search to be
undertaken by the Council's Environment Unit, A standard fee of £84
will be charged for this service.
The Council will make site-specific
environmental information available in accordance with the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004. A disclaimer is
generally added to the written response making it clear that the
information provided is only that available to the Council at that
time, and comes from various sources.
A site-specific search should be
- Contain a map clearly marking the boundary of the land under
- Be reasonable and specific in the questions asked e.g. "is the
council aware of any land within 250 metres of the site which could
be considered potentially contaminated?"
- Be accompanied by a cheque for £84 made payable to Amber Valley
Borough Council, to cover administration costs.
If the search provides no further
information this should not be taken to mean that the site is free
from contamination. If you still require further advice the
Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists have
produced a helpful leaflet entitled Information for Purchasers or Owners of
Potentially Contaminated Land, which offers advice and
sources of further information.
Land Affected by Contamination and the Planning Regime.
When would the Council put a planning condition on a site?
The Council will act in accordance with PPS23 and may attach a
planning condition where a site has a known, or suspected,
potentially contaminative history.
Will the Council recommend a consultant?
No. please see the Information for
Purchasers or Owners of Potentially Contaminated Land
What will happen if I do not submit a desktop study with my
If you do not submit a detailed
desktop study on the site with your planning application and your
planning consent is granted, it is likely that a planning condition
will be attached requiring you to submit these details before you
commence development of the site. The condition will not be
discharged until the Council is satisfied with the information
provided. In certain circumstances the Council may be unable to
grant permission until a satisfactory site investigation has been
Who will the Council consult with when I submit my planning
The Council will consult various
statutory bodies including the Environment Agency (EA) and other
departments within the Council including the Environment Unit.
Other consultees may include English Nature, English Heritage and
the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) at Derbyshire County Council
in accordance with Planning Policy Guidance 16 (PPG 16)
Archaeology and Planning, to protect the historic
environment, to protect the historic environment. They
may also refer to Planning Policy Statement 9 Biodiversity and
Geological Conservation and PPG 15 Planning and Historic
When do the EA get involved in the planning process in relation
to contaminated land?
The Council will consult the EA on
matters for which the agency has a regulatory responsibility such
- Where pollution of surface or groundwater is involved.
- Where the water environment is at risk of pollution.
- Where an application is within a flood-plain area.
- Where the development is on a closed landfill or within 250
metres of a closed or active landfill.
A site assessment was carried out in the past, can I still use
Possibly, but it should be noted
that guidance and the standards applied to site investigations are
constantly being updated therefore the assessment may need to be
reviewed or expanded in line with the current guidance.
What would be expected from a site investigation?
It is expected that the relevant
guidance and British Standards are followed. A good desktop study
should identify the potential source of contamination and industry
profiles should aid in this and identify what may be at site, this
though is not an exhaustive list. Any intrusive investigation and
associated analysis should account for this information.
The following booklet, entitled A Guide For Submitting Planning Application For
Land That May Be Contaminated, includes advice on the
requirements of a site investigation. An excellent source of
information and guidance can be found in the report Guidance for the Safe Development of Housing
on Land Affected by Contamination.