Land can be contaminated by, for example:
- previous industrial or commercial usage such as gas works, fuel stations, mining or landfilling;
- proximity to contaminated areas such as landfills; or
- its natural state. For example, marsh gas can cause a contamination problem, particularly in areas which are occupied by moss/peat land.
Contamination can occur in a number of forms, for example (but not limited to):
- in soil (for example heavy metals in ash or clinker);
- a spillage of a substance which may affect groundwater or a river, or affect people/property in vapour form; or
- ground gases (methane and/or carbon dioxide) from a landfill or other area of filled land.
Qualified and experienced professionals should investigate any suspected contamination. Even though contamination may be present on a site, it may not be significant unless the use or state of the site changes or contaminants are disturbed or mobilised.
For more about what counts as contaminated land and how it is dealt with, see GOV.UK
Contamination can be addressed within the planning regime (see development and contaminated land), or by legislation within Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Contaminated Land Strategy
Part 2A legislation requires all Local Authorities to produce a written strategy on how they are to carry out their duties. You can view the 2021 updated version of the Inspection Strategy below:
Contaminated land register
All local authorities are required to maintain a public register of contaminated land within their borough to comply with Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 and the Contaminated Land (England) Regulations 2000.
Here we list the areas of land within the Borough which form part of the public register, together with the dates of any appropriate notices, declarations and statements.
You can view the contaminated land register by appointment at our Crewe office (Municipal Buildings on Earle Street). Email or call 0300 123 5015 to make an appointment.
If a mortgage lender has asked you for an environmental search, see environmental searches.
Domestic heating oil spills
If you have a heating oil tank see the Heating Oil Spills Guidance document (PDF, 495KB).
Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released from some types of geology such as granites, limestones and some shales. Although the gas is radioactive, it is not considered to be a health issue until the gas becomes trapped in a confined space and concentrations of the gas build up to levels that are considered to be of concern.
You can find out if your property stands in a radon affected area on the UK Radon website.
Page last reviewed: 09 December 2022
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