The possibility of land being contaminated is a material planning consideration which means the Local Planning Authority has to consider the potential implications when developing plans and also considering applications for planning permission. The Building Regulations also require measures to be taken to protect new buildings and future occupants from the effects of any contamination.
The Government published the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on 27 March 2012. The policies within the Framework came into immediate effect. Documents replaced by the NPPF include Planning Policy Statement 23: Planning & Pollution Control (PPS 23) that provided guidance in relation to development on land affected by contamination.
The council encourages pre-application discussions and is committed to providing pre-application advice.
A pre-application advice note: development on land affected by contamination or where the proposed use is sensitive and vulnerable to contamination has been produced by the council. The purpose of the advice note is to assist developers, agents and consultants and ensure that land contamination is effectively dealt with. A number of key points are included. The advice note can be viewed following the link at the end of the page. Please note the advice note refers to PPS 23 which was replaced with the publication of the NPPF on 27 March 2012.
Section 15 (Existing Use) of the standard planning application form (1APP) requires that an appropriate contamination assessment must be submitted with any planning application involving land that is suspected or known to be affected by contamination or if the proposed use is considered to be sensitive and vulnerable to contamination. It is in the developer’s interests to ensure that sufficient information is submitted. If an appropriate contamination assessment is not submitted the planning application may not be registered and delays are likely before the application is determined.
In instances where the Local Planning Authority considers that there is the potential for contamination to present a risk planning approval may be granted subject to conditions. Such conditions will require the developer to undertake a site investigation and risk assessment, and issue a remediation strategy. It is vital that such actions are agreed with the Local Planning Authority prior to being carried out and completed before development begins on site. The Local Planning Authority will also require sufficient evidence to demonstrate that land contamination has been dealt with appropriately prior to discharging the relevant conditions on the planning approval.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that land contamination is adequately dealt with and a development is ‘suitable for use’ and does not present any unacceptable risk to human health or the wider environment.
Further advice with respect to the development of land in the borough is available from both Development Control and Building Control.
The Local Planning Authority has issued guidance and checklists in relation to the validation of planning applications.