Contaminated land rules extend to radioactivity

Radioactively contaminated land will now be dealt with under the contaminated land regime, after revised legislation comes into force on Friday.

So far, there has been no legal obligation to assess the status of potentially radioactively contaminated land and remediate it, apart from land allocated for re-development. The revised rules require local authorise to work together with the Environment Agency in establishing whether suspected sites are contaminated with radioactivity, opening up the route to remediation paid for by the polluter.

David Bennett, strategic policy manager for radioactive substances regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “From 4 August, changes to Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will mean the Environment Agency has an important role to play in helping local authorities decide whether land is radioactively contaminated.

“Local authorities will need to be satisfied that there is enough relevant information available to indicate the land is potentially contaminated before they carry out an initial study.

“To help them where they do decide to proceed, we have produced some new guidance. If their initial investigations suggest there may be contamination at specified levels, the case is then referred to the Environment Agency to carry out more detailed tests.”

The results of these tests will determine whether an area is designated a “special site” and remediated, normally by the polluter.

Goska Romanowicz

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