Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy
As a result of the increasing demand for housing and the presence of substantial areas of derelict land, the Government introduced guidance which encourages local authorities to improve awareness of land as a finite resource and discourage the development of greenfield sites. Future development should, wherever possible, take place on disused development land, also known as brownfield sites. In addition, the development should not adversely affect the wildlife, landscape or amenity value of the site.
The development of this ideology through the 1990s within Central Government culminated in the Contaminated Land Regime in 2000.
1.1 Central Government Policy on Contaminated Land
The Government’s three stated overall objectives with respect to contaminated land are:
to identify and remove unacceptable risks to human health and the environment;
to seek to bring damaged land into beneficial use; and
to seek to ensure that the cost burdens faced by individuals, companies and society as a whole are proportionate, manageable and economically sustainable.
It is within this overall context that the Government has introduced the new regime. Its primary objective is to produce an improved system for the identification and remediation of land where contamination is causing unacceptable risks to human health, or the wider environment, assessed in the context of the current use and circumstances of the land. Further stated objectives of the new regime are:
to improve the focus and transparency of the controls, ensuring authorities take a strategic approach to problems of land contamination;
to enable all problems resulting from contamination to be handled as part of the same process; previously separate regulatory action was needed to protect human health and to protect the water environment;
to increase the consistency of approach taken by different authorities; and
to provide a more tailored regulatory mechanism, including liability rules, better able to reflect the complexity and range of circumstances found on individual sites.
It is the introduction of this new regulatory regime, generally referred to as the Part IIA regime, that has prompted the production of this Strategy document. Under the new regulations, Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Council is required to inspect land in its District for contamination.
This document sets out the Inspection Strategy of B&NES Council in identifying contaminated land under this regime and includes the proposed methodology for inspection of the District, identification of contaminated land and how all information gathered will be handled. The subject matter is highly technical, but this document has been produced with non-technical terms wherever possible. Appendix A: Glossary of Terms has been included for ease of reference. Words included in the glossary appear bold in the text where they first appear.
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