Contaminated land

Under part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which came into force on 1 April 2000, East Hampshire District Council has a responsibility to inspect land in its area with the purpose of identifying any contaminated land.

To speak with our Contaminated Land Officers, please email ehealth@easthants.gov.uk or call 01730 234332.

Definition of contaminated land

Contaminated land is defined under section 78A (2) of part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as: any land which appears to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land that,

  • significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused
  • significant pollution of controlled waters is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such pollution being caused.

The council has the sole responsibility for determining whether any land appears to be contaminated land.

Determining contaminated land

The council should identify a significant contaminant linkage to declare that a land is contaminated.

For a contaminant linkage to form there must be three separate elements:

  • contaminant (hazard) - a source of contamination must be present
  • receptor (target) - a receptor for that contamination to affect
  • pathway (via air, soil or water) - a pathway for the source to be able to affect the receptor

Unless all three elements of a contaminant linkage are identified, land cannot be declared contaminated.

Consequently, land can only be contaminated land where it is causing an unacceptable risk to human health or other specific receptors such as rivers or groundwater.

Contaminated land inspection strategy

East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) produced a 'contaminated land strategy' in 2001 (updated June 2013) detailing how it will deal with land in the district that may have become contaminated by a previous use.

Councils, in their role as an enforcement authority, will have to establish who is responsible for the remediation i.e. cleaning up of any land that is contaminated.

The council may reach an agreement with the responsible party or more formal action may be required in some cases and a remediation notice may be served.

In some circumstances the council may have to carry out the remediation work itself and seek to recover its costs.