The overall approach when dealing with historic land contamination is one of risk management. In general terms, those dealing with land contamination are faced with two basic questions – does the contamination matter, and if so what needs to be done about it?
When assessing sites there are three essential elements to any risk:
A contaminant – a substance with the potential to cause harm.
A receptor – something that could be adversely affected by the contaminant (e.g. people, property or eco-system).
A pathway – a route or means by which a receptor can be exposed to, or affected by the contaminant.
Each element can exist independently but they create a risk only where they are linked together. This linked combination of contaminant-pathway-receptor is described as a ‘pollutant linkage’.
It is important to realise that the presence of contamination doesn’t mean there is a risk. Without a pollutant linkage there is no risk and even where there is a pollutant linkage, and therefore some measure of risk, those assessing the site still need to ascertain whether the level of risk is unacceptable.
Environmental Health encounters land contamination in a variety of circumstances. Most of our dealings with land contamination fall into the following categories.
Planning Help Desk, Contaminated Land, Planning and Economic Development, 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 1HL
Telephone 01384 814136
Opening Hours Monday to Friday, 8:45 am to 5:00pm, please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays.