Explaining how contaminated land is threatening a £500m scheme at BEX

How a small piece of contaminated land hit the country's second largest ongoing construction project after the Olympics was one of the highlights of the first day of BEX at Sustainabilitylive!

Andrew Fraser, a director with leading contaminated land and groundwater remediation specialists Terra Vac UK, explained how contaminated land is threatening a construction project costing between £450m and £500m.

Mr Fraser explained the scheme, for a business park with offices, retail premises and hotels, was given planning permission to open only if a new access route was built to it to limit the pressure on existing roads.

The scheme is in the advanced stages of construction, but the opening is uncertain as the site for the proposed access road has more contamination on it than initially thought.

The extra contamination has led to the developers of the site ‘begging’ the council to allow it to open as scheduled.

While Mr Fraser has been busy installing acceleration equipment on the site in a bid to ensure all the contamination is cleared up on schedule.

He said: “You can have as many caveats in a contract as you want when it comes to land remediation.

“But, sometimes you get a deal and something happens where you just have to take on the extra costs and do it.”

Mr Fraser recommends as much early dialogue as possible to prevent this sort of situation happening, but says with the history of many sites in the UK it’s impossible to be 100% certain what condition the land is in.

  • Mr Fraser spoke at BEX, part of Sustainabilitylive! on Tuesday, May 19
  • Luke Walsh

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