As well as guaranteeing a higher level of protection around the country from contamination and pollution at industrial sites, it also requires that at any sites where contamination has already occurred, that the severity of the incident is recorded and classified.

“This new law will outline all the potential dangers posed by contaminated sites and the risks involved in reusing contaminated soil for other purposes,” the Spanish government stated in a report. “We endeavour to guarantee improved protection for both the environment and the people living and working near contaminated sites.”

Site operators whose activities are judged under the law to constitute a risk will have a statutory obligation to clean and restore their site within a given period of time.

Following a comprehensive investigation, the government has detected around 26,440 sites currently involved in potentially contaminating and polluting activities, and an estimated 15,000 of these are expected to be directly affected by the new regulations.

The Spanish Ministry for the Environment stated that no specific EU legislation was currently in place to regulate contaminated industrial sites effectively.

By Jane Kettle

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