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Contaminated Land

Contaminated land refers to places where previous uses of the land (which may have been considered perfectly legal and acceptable at the time when they occurred), have led to pollution of the soil. Examples include the dumping of chemicals or waste, or the toxic by-products of mining and extraction industries. Such pollution may be impossible to remove completely, and can persist for centuries, so that, although such activities are now tightly controlled, we still have to cope with the legacy. This may constitute a threat to the health of people using the land, damage to buildings and/or services, and potentially wider environmental risks, such as contamination of water supplies through the leaching of toxic chemicals.

The Environment Act 1995 places duties on Local Authorities to carry out certain tests to determine whether land is contaminated. A key feature of the tests is that the land must be affecting, or likely to affect, a vulnerable receptor. Receptors can be human beings, ecological systems, ground waters or property. There must also be a means by which contamination, or the effects of it, can travel to the receptor. Land is then assessed according to the risk it presents to the receptor. Further investigation, monitoring or remediation may then be appropriate. The Local Authority is responsible for agreeing the most appropriate action and ensuring it is taken.

Bedford Borough Council’s approach to contaminated land is set out in a strategy which was published in July 2001. More information about the strategy and current progress can be obtained from the Pollution Control Section.

Closed landfill sites have been monitored for levels of methane and carbon dioxide as part of the Council’s responsibilities under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to identify nuisances and risk to public health. Activities at the operative landfill sites in the district are also followed, although the main responsibility for control of these sites rests with the Environment Agency.

 

Please click here to download Contaminated Land

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Here you will find information on environmental and planning issues. This section provides a wealth of information including details on how to make or enquire about a planning application, rubbish, waste and recycling information.

 


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