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.
Contamination can be addressed within the planning regime or by legislation within 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. The current version of the Inspection Strategy can be viewed below.
Domestic heating oil spills
If you have a heating oil tank please refer to the Heating Oil Spills Guidance document (PDF, 495KB).
Public Health England has produced a useful guide for Domestic Heating Oil.
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.
Tests and further information on radon are available directly from the Public Health England (PHE) website.