Like many areas throughout the Country, Fylde Borough has a small legacy of industrial activity which may have left an unknown number of sites containing elevated levels of potentially harmful materials and compounds. In certain circumstances these pollutants may present a significant risk of causing significant harm to people or the environment.
Fylde Council wishes to ensure that land contamination does not pose a risk and that previously use derelict sites are brought back into an active use. To achieve these aims, the Council adopts three main approaches;
Town Planning and Regeneration
The town planning process represents the main way in which contaminated sites are remedied and brought back into use.
Before a potentially contaminated site can be developed planning permission is usually required. That will only be given if the Council can be satisfied that the site on which the development is proposed carries no significant risk of causing harm.
The process of discovering and dealing with contamination issues associated with a development site involves a number of stages as follows:
(i) Historic / Desk Top Review – Undertaken by a developer to identify previous uses of a site, and will involve consideration, for example, of historic documents, aerial photographs and ordnance survey maps.
(ii) Intrusive Site Investigation – Undertaken by a developer by examining samples of soil, land gas and water associated with the site. The pattern of the investigation would be agreed with the Council following the desk top review.
(iii) Remediation – The works to be carried out by the developer to remove any significant risk of harm associated with the use of the land or neighbouring premises.
The Council will require these measures to be done before planning permission is given. The developer will pay for the cost of cleaning up the site.
Building Control & Building Regulation’s
The Building Regulation’s 2000 (as amended) controls building work on contaminated sites and states:-
The ground to be covered by the building shall be reasonably free from any material that might damage the building or affect its stability, including vegetable matter, topsoil and pre-existing foundation’s.
Reasonable precautions shall be taken to avoid danger to health and safety caused by contaminants on or in the ground covered, or to be covered by the building and any land associated with the building.
Adequate subsoil drainage shall be provided if it is needed to avoid damage to the building, including damage through the transport of water-borne contaminants to the foundation’s of the building.
For the purpose of Building Regulation’s ‘contaminant’ means any substance which is or may become harmful to persons or buildings including substances which are corrosive, explosive, flammable, radioactive or toxic.
Further guidance on this can be found using the link on the right of the page ‘Approved Document C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture’.
Contaminated Land – Statutory Regime
In April 2000, new statutory provisions came into force enabling local authorities and the Environment Agency to deal with contaminated land not subject to the town planning process.
The new regime under Part 11A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, gives a duty to the local authority to identify any contaminated land in its area. Land will be considered contaminated if it causes or has the potential to cause significant harm to people, their property or to the environment or pollution to controlled waters.
The local authority and the Environment Agency have responsibilities to ensure that contaminated sites are remedied.
In 2001, the Council published a Strategy which out lines how it is proposed to identify and ensure the remediation of contaminated land. Information on the Strategy can be obtained from the Environmental Health Services.
Once a contaminated site has been identified, the Council will seek to identify the persons who caused or knowingly permitted the contamination to be present in or under the land. Those persons will be required to clean up the site. In this respect a Remediation Notice may be served describing the responsibilities for decontamination work and giving a timetable by which appropriate actions are to be taken.
If the polluter cannot be identified, the current owner or occupier of the land becomes legally responsible for site remediation.
The Council will be required to take responsibility for contaminated land where no one else can be found who is legally responsible.
The Environment Agency will deal with “Special Sites” particularly where controlled waters (used for drinking water) are being polluted.
In due course a public register will be prepared describing contaminated sites for which the local authority has taken action under the 1990 Act.