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Contaminated land

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Across Wales there is land that has been contaminated by past and present industrial processes or activities. Where waste products or residues remain, these can sometimes pose an environmental hazard.

What is land contamination?

The term 'land contamination' covers many situations where land is contaminated in some way. In a small number of these situations where certain criteria are met, a site might be determined 'contaminated land'. This has a specific legal definition set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Who regulates land contamination?

Local authorities and Natural Resources Wales (external link) have specific roles where regulatory regimes apply. However, the responsibility for dealing with land affected by contamination rests with those who caused it. This can be the owner or occupier of the land or in some cases the person redeveloping it.

Land contamination planning

The Town and Country Planning system controls development and the use of land. You can read about how the planning system and the contaminated land regime work together in Chapter 13 of Planning Policy Wales.

Contaminated land regime

The contaminated land regime, is set out in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (external link). It provides a risk-based approach to identifying and rectifying land where contamination is an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

The regime is jointly regulated by local authorities and Natural Resources Wales.