The funding will be given out in two million pound parcels each year to local authorities and the Environment Agency for projects across Wales.

Jane Davidson, environment, sustainability and housing minister, said: “Contaminated land is a by-product of Wales’s industrial heritage and cleaning up these sites is of importance to the Welsh Assembly Government.

“The majority of contaminated sites are dealt with through land development proposals as part of economic regeneration.

“However, not all contaminated land is subject to planning development and this funding is aimed at dealing with these sites.”

The money announced on Monday, July 28, will be used to investigate and restore contaminated land.

The government has a legal duty under the contaminated land regime to deal with polluted land not picked up in regeneration schemes.

Restoring former developed land that has been contaminated is intended to help bring them back into use and ease pressure to build on greenfield or previously undeveloped land.

The aim is preserve the countryside and encourage environmental, social and economic regeneration. Between 2005 and 2006 the government gave £5m to clean up land.

Under the contaminated land regime, part of the Environmental Protection Act, introduced in Wales in 2001, local authorities must

identify polluted land that poses unacceptable risks to human health or the environment and restore it for use.

Contaminated land is land that has been polluted with harmful substances to the point it poses a serious risk to human health and the environment.

The most common pollutants are metals and organic compounds.

Large scale man made contamination started during the Industrial Revolution with poor industrial practices and accidents releasing potentially harmful substances into the land along with underground and surface water systems.

0il refineries, railways, steel works, illegal landfill sites, petrol stations, gas works and accidental industrial spills may have been past sources of contamination.

Contamination can also come from historical activities dating back hundreds of years, such as spoil heaps from some Roman lead mines, and from naturally occurring substances.

David Gibbs

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