Some land in this country has been contaminated in the past by industries such as mining, waste disposal and general industrial processes. We work with landowners to manage the risk posed by this historical use.
What is contaminated land?
The Council recognises that the historical use of the land in its area may have left behind chemicals that could pose a risk to human health and the environment if not properly managed. However the risk of this contamination posing a threat is very low.
In most cases there should be no fear or concern about the state and condition of the land in the borough/district, however there may be times where the current use of the land may pose a risk to health or the environment.
What is the Council's and others role?
The Council has a role in preventing harm from contaminated land in three ways:
- We will assess all planning applications to see whether there is a potential risk from the development to future users of the site due to the land condition
- We will endeavour to ensure that the sites that we own are not posing a risk to users of our facilities
- We will investigate all potentially contaminated land and work with the land owners to minimise or eliminate the risk to users of those sites
How contaminated land might affect your planning application
As part of the planning process we need to ensure that the future users of the site are protected from any contamination that might exist on site. You will therefore need to provide evidence to show that the site is not contaminated or poses a risk to future users, or where this can't be demonstrated a scheme for how you will control this risk, this requirement is also applies for building regulation approval or certification.
Further information can be found here.
The Contaminated Land Regime
The Contaminated Land Regime was introduced to help identify and deal with land which poses unacceptable levels of risk. It is not intended to apply to land with levels of contaminants in soil that are commonplace and widespread throughout England or parts of it, and for which in the very large majority of cases, there is no reason to consider that there is an unacceptable risk.
Historically, many areas of Devon have been the subject of hard rock mining for copper, tin, lead, silver and arsenic. In addition, soils in Devon contain elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic in the soil, due to the underlying geology.
As such, it is not uncommon for elevated levels of arsenic to be found in the Devon soils. If you have any particular concerns about this, please contact Environmental Health for more information.