A Contamination Report, also known as a Contaminated Land Report (CLR), provides advice to landowners and developers as to whether there is, or is likely to be, any contamination on a site where development is proposed. Contamination can occur naturally, accumulate over time or be present due to a single event.
Most sites will have some contamination but, in most cases, the levels will not pose a risk. The purpose of the Contamination Report is to identify what contaminants are present and, given the proposed use for the site, whether they pose a risk to human health or the environment.
The two main scenarios where reporting might be required are:
• In advance of purchasing land for development. This is part of due diligence and assists the purchaser by identifying and evaluating potential risks and consequent liabilities.
• When required by the Local Authority as part of planning regulations. This is done to meet the regulatory requirements of the Environment Agency and other statutory bodies and also to conform to any local requirements.
There are two phases of reporting but, depending on the outcome of the Phase 1 Report, Phase 2 may not be required.
Phase 1 Report
The Phase 1 report is principally based on a Desktop Study but may also include a Site Walkover Survey. The objective is to provide a Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA), including a Conceptual Site Model, which either confirms that there is no contamination or identifies what contamination is likely to be present and what risks it poses.
Researching the history of a site is an important first step towards identifying the likelihood of contamination. Current and historic maps and documents are an invaluable aid to understanding how the land has been used, particularly with regard to:
• previous industrial or agricultural use
• possible locations of underground vaults, cellars and storage tanks
• landfill or other waste disposal
• incidents of spillage or pollution
• geological factors such as potentially toxic metallic elements that occur naturally in the soil
A Phase 1 Report might be sufficient to rule out any significant risk from contamination. If it is unable to do so, it will be necessary to move on to Phase 2 of the reporting process.
Phase 2 Report
Where a Phase 1 Report indicates the potential of risk to human health or the environment, or where further investigation is needed, a Phase 2 assessment is required. This typically involves taking soil samples for laboratory analysis and can include hand digging samples, excavating trial pits and drilling boreholes. It may also include groundwater sampling and gas monitoring.
Following the assessment, a report is produced describing the methodology and results. It will confirm whether or not there are any risks associated with the site and if they will require remediation.
Where required, a Phase 3 Report will be prepared setting out options and a remediation strategy. A Phase 4 Report provides verification that remediation has been completed.
If you need a contamination survey contact us.