Dealing with Potentially Contaminated Land in Milton Keynes
The Contaminated Land Regime
Milton Keynes council has published a Contaminated land inspection strategy (PDF, 1.7MB)explaining how it is dealing with potentially contaminated land within its area.
Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
1. Local Authority Responsibilities under the Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
The principal responsibilities are to:
- Cause their areas to be inspected in order to identify contaminated land and prepare reports on local contamination
- Determine whether any particular site is statutorily contaminated land (over 600 sites have been assessed and prioritised for inspection; seven sites have already been determined as contaminated land and remediated to deal with the problem; applications have been made to central government for funding which has enabled the detailed intrusive investigation of two former gas-works sites)
- Act as enforcing authority for all contaminated land (with very few exceptions)
- Establish who may be the appropriate person or persons to bear responsibility for remediation of contaminated sites
- Decide, after consultation, what remediation might be required in any individual case
- Ensure that such remediation takes place, either through agreement with the appropriate person, or by serving a remediation notice if necessary, or carrying out the work themselves
- Determine who should bear what proportion of the liability for meeting the costs of the work where a remediation notice is served, or the authority itself carries out the work
- Record information on a public register about their regulatory actions.
2. Strategy for the inspection of the local authority’s area.
The statutory guidance says that the local authority should take a strategic approach to the identification of contaminated land. In developing its strategic approach it has to consult with the Environment Agency and other appropriate public authorities. The local authority must set out its approach as a written strategy, which had to be adopted and published in 2001.
The strategic approach should:
- Be rational, ordered and efficient
- Be proportionate to the seriousness of any actual or potential risk
- Seek to ensure that the most pressing and serious problems are located first
- Ensure that resources are concentrated on investigating in areas where the authority is most likely to identify contaminated land
- Ensure that the local authority efficiently identifies requirements for the detailed inspection of particular areas of land
- Take into account local circumstances of receptor types, geology, hydrogeology, available information on contamination, potentially contaminative industries, past redevelopment and remediation, interests of other regulatory authorities etc.
The published Milton Keynes Council Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy is available here (PDF, 1.7MB).
3. Action taken by this council to discharge its duties under the contaminated land regime.
The Environment Team within the Regatory Unit has two officers with expertise in dealing with contaminated land (Dr Steve Moorhouse, Team Leader; Ms Nicola Adshead, Scientific Officer). As a major part of our strategy in dealing with contaminated land we have developed an Environmental Information Database, with data derived from a wide variety of sources including historical information, planning files, public registers etc. This database currently includes details of over 600 potentially contaminated sites linked to the Mapinfo Geographic Information System to allow visual display, data manipulation, printing of maps etc.
This information has been used to allocate a numerical score to each site so that the inspection of sites may be prioritised with those sites that potentially present the greatest risk being inspected first. This process of inspection is now underway and is expected to last for some years.
The inspection phase has already resulted in seven sites being recognised as statutorily contaminated land. All of these sites have since been satisfactorily remediated and are now fit for their current use.Details of these sites are on the council's Contaminated Land Public Register.
Contaminated Land Public Register
Click here to download a summary version of the Contaminated Land Public Register. (DOC, 52KB)