The Town and Country Planning system controls development and the use of land in the wider public interest - find out how planning controls help with land contamination
Town and country planning
The Town and Country Planning system controls development and the use of land in the wider public interest. Local planning authorities within each local authority are responsible for planning issues and making sure that planning requirements are met.
Contamination of land can occur as a result of previous industrial use and may represent harm to human health and the environment.
Contamination is a 'material planning consideration' which means that a planning authority must consider contamination when they prepare development plans or consider individual applications for planning permission.
Local planning authorities are responsible for ensuring that land contamination is dealt with through the planning system and that remediation takes place where it is required.
It is the responsibility of the developer to carry out the remediation and satisfy the local authority that the remediation has been carried out as agreed.
We have responsibilities to protect the water environment under a number of regimes.
Through the Town and Country Planning system, a planning authority may consult us where there may be a risk that pollution of 'controlled waters' may occur or may have occurred in the past (controlled waters are coastal waters, inland fresh waters and groundwaters).
The local planning authority will consult within the local authority for advice on human health, risks to buildings etc.
Although a regime now exists to deal with historical contamination (Part IIA) it is anticipated that many contaminated sites will continue to be dealt with under the planning system.
A key difference between planning and Part IIA is that Part IIA deals with the contamination risk from a site in its current use, but the planning system requires that the proposed use is considered. Therefore the remediation requirements under the planning system can be wider than under Part IIA.
Where remediation is carried out under the planning system, the site must be is in such a condition that it would not still meet the definition of contaminated land under Part IIA.