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Researching the potential for contamination to be present

In a few simple steps you can get an initial indication as to the possibility of contamination being present at a particular property or piece of land.

  1. research the past and present land uses and identify the potential contaminants associated with those land uses and activities;

  2. check the status of the property under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and

  3. ascertain whether land contamination was dealt with when the property was built.

To help you research past and present land uses and potential contaminants we provide access to:

Historic maps and aerial photographs of Dudley

Historic maps and aerial photographs can be studied to determine the former use of land and identify potentially contaminative land uses such as industrial premises.

We provide an online archive of historic mapping and aerial photography. The facility allows you to select an address and displays the current mapping at that location; you can then choose to view historic mapping and aerial imagery.

Please use the following link to access Dudley borough's historic maps and aerial photographs.

Planning and building control information

For more recent housing developments the potential for land contamination should have been considered and dealt with as part of the planning and development control process. Conditions may have been attached to the planning approval for a particular development requiring that certain investigations and remediation be carried out. Information about the planning history of a site and whether the requirements of planning conditions have been satisfied is available from the Planning Section.

The Building Control Section carries out the council’s statutory duty of applying Building Regulations to ensure that buildings are safe, energy efficient and accessible. Information about ground-related problems such as ground movement, instability, aggressive soil conditions, and contamination and ground gases is available from the Building Control Section.

Industry profiles

The series of DOE Industry Profiles publications provide information on the processes, materials, wastes and potential contaminants associated with a variety of industrial activities and land uses. The 47 original publications are available on the CL:AIRE website. In addition, Defra has published an Industry Profile which focuses on land uses which may be subject to radiological contamination.

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from very small amounts of uranium in all rocks and soils. It is present throughout the UK but due to geological and soil conditions higher concentrations may exist in certain areas.

The Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England) and the British Geological Survey have compiled a radon dataset for England and Wales that provides a radon-probability banding for individual property with a valid postal address. A search can be carried out on the UKradon website. The website also provides further information about radon. A simplified version of the dataset has been published as the Indicative Atlas of Radon in England and Wales (HPA-RPD-033) and this atlas is available from the Public Health England website.

 

Our website includes a section devoted to Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which contains the following:

Contaminated land inspection strategy

Under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part 2A) we have a statutory duty to inspect our areas for the purposes of identifying contaminated land, and where such land is identified we have the power to secure its remediation.

In implementing Part 2A we have published a Policy and framework document (which includes the Inspection Strategy for Dudley borough) together with our Cost Recovery Policy.

Our Inspection Strategy outlines the strategic approach to be applied when inspecting the Dudley borough for the purpose of identifying contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This approach is intended to enable the council to identify, in a rational, ordered and efficient manner, the land which merits detailed inspection, identifying the most pressing and serious problems first and concentrating resources on the areas where contaminated land is most likely to be found.

Inspection Strategy for Dudley (March 2015)

Public register held under Section 78R

We are required to maintain a public register containing information relating to Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The contents of the register are prescribed by regulations and it is important to realise that the register is not a list of sites that are or might be contaminated.

The register is intended to act as a full and permanent record of all the regulatory action taken by the enforcing authority in relation to the remediation of the land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The register will include:

  • Remediation notices
  • Appeals against remediation notices
  • Remediation declarations
  • Remediation statements
  • Appeals against charging notices
  • Designation of special sites
  • Notification of claimed remediation
  • Convictions for offences under Section 78M of the Act
  • Guidance issued under Section 78V(1) of the Act
  • Other matters prescribed by Regulations

The public register does not include details of historic land use and other information used in the identification and investigation of potentially contaminated land, neither does it contain information on sites that have been remediated through the planning and development control process.

The public register is held at the address listed below.

At the present time there are no entries in the public register.

FAQs

What is contaminated land?

In the context of Part 2A contaminated land is that land which is causing significant harm or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused. Statutory Guidance defines what constitutes significant harm and in the case of human health it includes death, disease, serious injury, genetic mutation, birth defects or the impairment of reproductive functions.

The definition of contaminated land under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 does not necessarily include all land where contamination is present.

Is my property, or the one I intend to purchase, on contaminated land?

No land or property within the Dudley borough has been determined as 'contaminated land' as defined under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Are you able to provide any assurance that my property is not going to be investigated under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990?

Within the Dudley borough a considerable number of properties are situated within close proximity to past and present industrial and other potentially contaminative activities. Many other properties have been built on former industrial land. We are required to inspect the whole borough so whilst some will be more of a priority than others we cannot discount any property. Also, there is the possibility that circumstances with respect to individual properties might change in the future. Given the extensive industrial heritage of the Dudley Borough and the number of potentially contaminated sites, the complexities of Part 2A and the resources available the council cannot speculate on when any particular property will be investigated.

Is there any risk and what is the likelihood of my property being designated as ‘contaminated land’?

The presence of contamination does not mean that there is a risk. Whether there is a risk depends on a number of site specific factors. There must be a source of contamination, someone or something affected (receptor) and a pathway by which the receptor is exposed to the contamination. The stringent tests as to whether any substance is causing significant harm or there is a significant possibility of significant harm also need to be satisfied. We cannot speculate about whether any land or property is likely to be 'contaminated land'.

As an homeowner, am I liable for any contamination?

Under Part 2A the responsibility will usually lie with the original polluter (i.e. the person or company who allowed the contamination to occur) or with those who were subsequently in control of the land and aware of the presence of contamination but did not take steps within their power to deal with it. If the polluter cannot be ‘found’ (for example, if the company went bankrupt or the persons responsible are deceased) then the liability for the contamination may pass to the owner or occupier of the land. When looking to recover costs from owners or occupiers the regulator (the council) has to consider whether hardship would be caused and the public interest.

With respect to whether land contamination was dealt with when a property was built, Planning Development Control and Building Control may hold relevant information and appropriate links are provided.

It is important to realise that simply identifying the possible presence of contamination doesn't mean there is a risk and it is not sufficient grounds upon which to base any determination under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Should you be unable to find the information you want you could consider making enquiries under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

  • 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