Local Authorities have a statutory duty to identify, manage and mitigate risks to public health from contaminated land within their borough.

The statutory regime for the identification and remediation of contaminated land is contained in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which came into force in England on 1 April 2000. The primary legislation (i.e. the 1990 Act) is complemented by the Contaminated Land (England) Regulations 2000 and the Defra Circular 01/2006: Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part 2A Contaminated Land. This latter document is often referred to as the ‘statutory guidance’.

The regulations reinforce the ‘suitable for use’ approach to the assessment and remediation of contaminated land, which recognises that the risks presented by contamination vary according to the use of the land and other circumstances. The concept of a ‘pollutant linkage’ (i.e. a linkage between a ‘contaminant’ and a ‘receptor’ by means of a ‘pathway’) is used in the assessment of risk to human health and the environment. All three elements (i.e. a source, a receptor and a viable linking pathway) must be present for a pollutant linkage to exist.

DBS Environmental Phase 2 Ground Investigations

A ‘significant contaminant linkage’ must be identified for any land to be regarded as ‘contaminated land’ on the basis that significant harm is being caused, or that there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused, or that pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be caused. The situations where harm is to be regarded as ‘significant’ are defined in the statutory guidance.

The decision on whether the possibility of significant harm being caused by contamination is significant is a regulatory decision to be undertaken by the relevant local authority, and the statutory guidance documents four categorisations (categories 1 to 4) to assist local authorities in deciding whether land can be considered contaminated or not, based on the grounds of significant possibility of significant harm (SPOSH) to human health. Categories 1 and 2 encompass land that is capable of being determined as contaminated land, categories 3 and 4 encompass land that is not capable of being determined as contaminated land.

DBS Environmental Part 2A Support

The rational for placing land into a specific category is documented in the statutory guidance.

DBS have significant experience of assisting Local Authorities with their duties under Part 2A, including identifying and quantifying risks from contaminated land, and risks from other features that may cause local issues such as historical landfill sites.

We have a full appreciation of the requirements of the procurement process, financial management, programme management and risk management.

We are also experienced in managing situations where a conflict of interest can arise, e.g. acting on behalf of a regulator whilst also providing services to regulated organisations. Our approach to this is in line with our ethical policy and requires us to be honest and open in our work and make it clear to clients where we feel conflicts may arise and how we propose to address them. In extreme circumstances this may require us to refuse or cease work for one of the parties involved, if an actual conflict of interest could arise. Our quality and project management systems help us to ensure that communications with our clients are transparent and responsive and that confidentiality is respected where required.

We can provide references from Contaminated Land Officers and/or Environmental Health Officers for Part 2A work we have undertaken successfully for Local Authority’s.

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“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment”
– Margaret Mead –