Two-thirds of contaminated land now being remediated

Roughly two-thirds of all land identified as being affected by industrial contamination in England and Wales is now undergoing some form of remediation, the Environment Agency said this week.

Looking at both chemical and radiological contamination the Agency report, Indicators for Land Contamination, examines the legacy of Britain’s industrial past to assist in identifying the need for remediation.

“This report gives us the broad picture of how much land has been subject to potentially contaminating activities,” said Dave Johnston, Land Contamination Policy Advisor at the Environment Agency.

“We did not aim to survey or list individual sites but to provide estimates based on available information, such as old Ordnance Survey maps and local authority land records. The information should assist in considering the progress being made in tackling land contamination, and in the development of policy and strategies at a local, regional and national level.”

He said that significant progress had been made, but added that more work needed to be done.

The study found that approximately 67,000 hectares of land in England and Wales – an area roughly the size of Greater Manchester – had been identified as being affected by chemical contamination.

Roughly, 44,000 hectares of this has undergone some form of remediation.

It is the responsibility of local authorities and/or developers to identify land that is contaminated and to ensure remediation work is carried out and all local authorities have strategic plans for inspecting their land.

The study did not look at contamination from nuclear power installations as this is dealt with under separate legislation.

By David Hopkins

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