Information and advice about contaminated land

Contaminated land is defined as land where:

  • significant harm is being caused or there is a 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. 

Contaminated Land Strategy

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

Public register

Once we know who is responsible, we will make requirements for the site to treat the contaminates in the land. We encourage an informal solution where possible, but we have the powers to enforce a clean-up, if necessary.

Treatment details will be entered onto a public register, in line with the legislation.

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

Buying or selling a property

Solicitors may carry out an environmental search for you when you are buying a house. This is usually done by a specialist search company. However, only the local authority or the Environment Agency can determine sites as contaminated land under Part 2A.

We may be able to provide you with further information if:

  • you are about to buy a property and you are concerned that there may be a risk of contamination affecting it
  • your solicitor has undertaken an environmental search with a search company and concerns have been raised


We can provide you with any information about contaminated land that we hold, in line 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 information, contact the Environmental Protection team.

Once we receive 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 hold.

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


Page last reviewed: 5 October 2020


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