When planning applications are made for developments on previously used land (‘brownfield sites’) that may be affected by contamination, the Council’s Planning Control section will consult the Environmental Protection section for its comments.
The role of the planning process is to ensure that the land is made suitable for the new use. If land is known to be contaminated or where available evidence indicates that contamination exists, the developer will be required to carry out an investigation and risk assessment. Planning permission will not be granted until detailed proposals for remediation of the site have been agreed based on the information provided in the site investigation and risk assessment - this is to ensure that the Council only grants permission for sites that can be made suitable for the proposed use.
In other cases where there is only a suspicion that a site may be contaminated, or where evidence suggests that only slight contamination is likely, it is a requirement of our planning policies that any such application is submitted with a Phase I Investigation and Prelimary Risk Assessment. This provides a detailed overview of the previous uses of a site and if necessary a planning condition may be imposed to ensure that the site is fully investigated and made suitable for use.
For sites which have a sensitive end use (e.g. residential or education), regardless of previous land use it is expected, in line with current government guidance, that an environmental search and Land Contamination Questionnaire will be submitted along with the application.
Please also see the Council’s Environment Section for further information on contaminated land matters.