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Contaminated Land

The Law Society warned solicitors about the need to consider potential liability of Contaminated Land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

What is Contaminated Land?

Contaminated land is defined as land where:

  • ¬∑significant harm is being caused or there is significant possibility of such harm being caused or
  • ¬∑significant pollution of controlled waters is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such pollution being caused

Some sites are not dealt with through the planning process and may be a risk, if left as they are.

The Government introduced legislation, Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. to help to deal with such sites in 2000. The way that local authorities intend to deal with contamination under this legislation must be published in a written strategy.

Contaminated Land Strategy

We have produced a Contaminated Land Strategy which details how we will deal with contaminated land in the borough. It describes how we will identify and prioritise sites for further investigation, as well as information about liability, enforcement and remediation.

Read our Contaminated Land Strategy - see below.

 Public Register

When we have determined who is responsible, we will make requirements for the site to be remediated. We will encourage an informal solution where possible, but we have enforcement powers to require clean-up, if necessary. Remediation details will be entered onto a public register, in accordance with the legislation.

At this time, there are no entries on Colchester Borough Council's register. However, you should contact Environmental Protection to confirm the most up-to-date information.

Buying or selling a property

Solicitors may undertake an environmental search for you when you are buying a house, usually done by a specialist search company - although note that only the local authority or the Environment Agency can determine sites as contaminated land under Part 2A.

If you are about to buy a property and you are concerned that there may be a risk of contamination affecting it or, maybe your solicitor has undertaken an environmental search with a search company and concerns have been raised, we may be able to provide you with further information.

This will be provided in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. There is a charge to provide this information, currently £100.

If you would like us to provide you with this kind of information, contact Environmental Protection at the council.

It will be necessary for us to be in receipt of your payment, together with a plan, clearly showing the area of concern and your questions. We will then be able to provide you with as much information as we are able to.

Please note that our records are not complete and we will only be able to provide you with the factual information that we have recorded. We will not be able to speculate about potential risks at any site.