How can I find out if land may be contaminated?
If you are buying a home or commercial premise and suspect land contamination, ask your solicitor to investigate. Be aware that the sampling and testing of soil and groundwater and interpretation of the results is expensive and best left to professional consultants.
If you are concerned that you might live on a site that could be contaminated or are interested in purchasing a particular piece of land, you can contact the Pollution Control Team to find out if they have any information. Please address your enquiry for the attention of the Contaminated Land Officer, preferably with a plan or sketch of the area of land in question to avoid confusion over exactly where the site is.
The Pollution Control Team offer an Environmental Search service which provides a report of pertinent information held by the team. The standard fee for this Environmental Search Service is £83 plus VAT for responding to a straight forward query, which increases depending upon the amount of time incurred in collating the required information. Please indicate what your preferred payment method would be when making a search request (e.g. cheque, over the phone).
This service provides a full colour report based on the information obtained from the Council's own records and interrogation of our database records in relation to land on or within 250 metre radius of the site. This information includes:
- Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 2A public register check.
- Industrial history from 4 epochs of maps and land use surveys, dating back to 1865.
- Details of known historical landfill sites.
- Details of land having any potentially contaminating historical land use.
- A list of publicly accessible site reports held by this Team.
- Local Authority recorded pollution incidents
- Details of disused underground petroleum tanks
To provide as comprehensive a response as possible we now offer the following as optional searches (included in the fee). Please advise if you would like us to include any of these in your search:
- Location of private water supplies within 1km
- Petroleum records for licenced sites – number, size and content of existing fuel tanks, reports of leaks / spills
- Details of Statutory Nuisance complaints/notices dating back to 1996.
- List of sites within 250m that have active permits issued by the Local Authority under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (PPC) and the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2016.
Standard reports should take no more than 5 working days from receipt of payment to issue. If the report is considered ‘non-standard’ we will advise at the time of the request the likely time for completion.
Other sources of information
Information may also be available from the Planning and Building Control Sections of the Council, the Natural Resources Wales and commercial suppliers of environmental data. For some plots a "Land Condition Record" may be available. This is a record of factual information about a site in a standardised format and is usually kept by the landowner.