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Contaminated Land

How is Pembrokeshire County Council tackling land contamination?

The Pollution Control Team undertake the statutory duty under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 but also a significant volume of the work involves dealing with land contamination through the planning process along with answering solicitor and consultant queries.

 

Part 2A

The Council has produced a Contaminated Land Strategy detailing how it will deal with land in the district that may be contaminated. The strategy has been produced under a statutory duty arising from Part 2A of the EPA 1990.  The revised version of the strategy was published in August 2016. This is the third revision having first been published in 2003 and then in 2010. The 2016 strategy reflects the updates in the Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance issued by Welsh Government in 2012. The Statutory Guidance says that the inspection should be "rational, ordered and efficient" and ensure that the more pressing and serious problems are located first.

The Strategy explains the steps that will be taken by the Council to identify any contaminated land. These will include identifying potential sources of contamination; locating sensitive receptors, either human or environmental, and assessing whether there is, or is likely to be, a significant risk of harm. Pembrokeshire County Council is using a staged approach to the identification and assessment of contaminated land.

The Strategy will be reviewed periodically to determine how the work is progressing in line with the proposed timescales. This will take into account any new guidance that has been produced to ensure that the strategy is in line with current best practice.

 

Planning

In addition to the proactive requirements contained within Part 2A of the EPA 1990 new development on 'brownfield' sites have resulted in land contamination being remediated through the development control process. The Pollution Control Team plays a major role in assuring the safe development of land affected by contamination, working closely with planners, consultants and developers to ensure that the land is made 'suitable for use'.

The Wales Local Government Association and Natural Resources Wales has produced guidance for owners, environmental consultants and developers on the assessment and management of land that may be affected by contamination. It is recommended that developers should have reference to this guidance note to ensure that the land is adequately investigated. This guidance is to inform on the type of information required by the Local Planning Authority in order for them to assess an application for planning permission on brownfield sites.

WLGA Development of Land Affected By Contamination

Requirements for the Chemical Testing of Imported Materials for Various End Uses and Validation of Cover Systems

 

Pollution Control
Tel: 01437 764551
ID: 2470, revised 28/02/2020

Contaminated Land Register

Local Authorities are required to maintain a public register, open for public inspection, of the remediation of contaminated land in their area.  This requirement is made in Section 78R of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

This 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.

 

Is there any Contaminated Land within Pembrokeshire?

Whilst Pembrokeshire does have areas of land affected by contamination, only one site within Pembrokeshire has been formally determined as Contaminated Land in accordance with the definition.

 

Register Entries

Determination Reference Site Address National Grid Reference Date of Determination Status
PCC/CL/01 The land to the south of the valley at South Pembrokeshire Golf Course, Military Road, Pennar, SA72 6SE 195262, 202970 13/09/2019 Notification of Determination

 

Further details can be viewed free of charge by contacting the Pollution Control Team. Please address queries for the attention of the Contaminated Land Officer.

 

Tel: 01437 764551
Email: pollution.control@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 2472, revised 28/02/2020

Avoiding Pollution From Heating Oil Tanks

Many homes in Pembrokeshire have an oil tank to supply oil-fired central heating.

Oil is toxic and can cause harm to your health and your family’s health, plants, animals, wildlife and the environment. Oil can travel a long way in the ground and in water and can easily contaminate underground water sources by soaking deep into the ground. It can permeate through water supply pipes and contaminate drinking water supplies. It is important to make sure that your tank and the oil supply pipework is regularly and correctly maintained and to understand the consequences for you, if oil leaks, or is spilled from your system.  

Most leaks are caused by poorly maintained or faulty tanks and pipework whilst most spills are caused by thefts or when the tank is being filled. Leaks should be repaired without delay and spills should be quickly stopped from spreading and becoming any worse.

If an accident does happen, the Pollution Control Team and Natural Resources Wales can offer you advice and help to ensure that the clean-up is done promptly and to the appropriate standard. We will however not be able to undertake the clean-up works or pay for the clean-up for you.  

Insurance companies may not pay if a leak has gone unnoticed or ignored over time.  It is important to regularly check your tank and pipework for leaks and to monitor the amount of oil that you use.  An increase in the amount of oil you use or a sudden decrease in the amount of oil in your tanks could mean that there is a leak.  

The booklet below could help to avoid the significant cost, inconvenience and risks to your health and the environment which are caused when heating oil leaks or is spilled from the storage tank/pipework. This booklet explains the things that can be done to prevent accidents such as leaks and spills, and the steps that should be taken if an accident does happen. 

Domestic Oil Tank Guidance

 

Pollution Control
Tel: 01437 764551
ID: 2474, revised 28/02/2020

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.

 

Environmental Searches

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.

 

Pollution Control
Tel: 01437 764551
ID: 2473, revised 28/02/2020

Contaminated Land Overview

What is Contaminated Land?

Land contamination is usually the result of previous land usage(s) or may, in rare cases, be due to contaminants being present due to natural geological conditions. In certain circumstances land with a historical industrial usage has been known to pollute controlled waters, release potentially toxic or explosive gases, damage buildings and affect human health by the ingestion of or exposure to contaminated food / soil.

The words 'Contaminated Land' have a specific legal definition. Under Section 78A (2) of Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) 'Contaminated Land' is defined as:

"Land which appears to the Local Authority to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on, or under the land, that significant harm is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; or significant pollution of controlled waters is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such pollution being caused."

"Harm" means harm to the health of living organisms or other interference with the ecological systems of which they form part and, in the case of man, includes harm to his property.

Why Worry about Contaminated Land?

Contaminated land may present a health risk to potential users of the land and also impact upon water quality, ecological diversity etc. Exposure to contaminants is typically through inhalation of dust or gases, contact with soil, or through consumption of food grown on the land. Leachates (pollutants draining from the site in liquid form) can pollute groundwater and rivers or ponds. Some contaminants may be corrosive, and some can pose a risk of explosion or fire.

How Long does Contamination Last?

Once a contaminant reaches the soil, it may break down or be neutralised, be washed out by rain, evaporate or remain in the soil building up to high concentrations. When contaminants build up, it may not be permanent. However, soil can sometimes remain polluted indefinitely - there is land contamination in England traceable back to Roman times.

Is it safe to live on Contaminated Land?

In most cases the risks associated with living on sites that have been previously used by industry are low. More often than not, any effects are to the value of the property due to perceived risk rather than actual effects to the health of occupiers or to the environment. Development through the planning process also is likely to reduce the risk posed due to investigation and remediation that can be a condition of development. However, if you are concerned about potential problems you can ask for advice from the Contaminated Land Officer in the Pollution Control Team.

 

 

Pollution Control
Tel: 01437 764551
ID: 2419, revised 28/02/2020