What You Should Know About Land Contamination
As suitable land for development will continue to be a scarce resource it is increasingly likely that brownfield, previously developed sites will be ‘reused’ for new regenerated development including new office complexes, industrial and commercial buildings or residential apartment schemes or housing estates. . Previous uses produce different substances which are retained on or in the land resulting in land contamination. Across the UK you would find many places that have been contaminated today due to industrial activities or processes which have either continuously or sporadically discharged hazardous waste products or residues remain from production or manufacturing processes

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For example, a number of timber production sites have utilized highly toxic timber treatment chemicals that contaminate the soil. Many commonplace materials like insecticides and pesticides in the garden shed and other persisting toxic substances like DDT whose residuals are still detected on the top layer of land cause land contamination. Other causes of land contamination include leakage from landfills, heavy discharges due to transportation, manufacture and storage activities, petroleum hydrocarbon, lead, mercury and other heavy metals and even invasive plant species.

Land contamination not only affects the health of the people that inhabit the land but also create imbalance in the ecosystem. It is a requirement to take necessary and adequate measures to mitigate against contamination where sensitive use is being established.

It is the responsibility of the owner to clean up or remediate the site to ensure it is safe to accommodate it’s newly defined use. Costs can be significant and hazadours or controlled waste to landfill carries heavy taxation and premiums due to the lack of availability of sites. It’s important to consider contamination in pre-purchase assessment of land for development. There are methods for claiming relief on costs, which our team would be pleased to advise you of, enabling reuse of previously contaminated land which might otherwise by uneconomic or at best marginal.

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