Framework for Contaminated Land Assessement

The legal framework for contaminated land assessment and remediation in the UK is outlined in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This legislation provides a means of identifying and dealing with unacceptable risks posed by contaminated land to human health and the environment and is implemented and enforced by the Environment Agency and Local Authorities. The aim of this legislation is to identify potential sites where a significant risk of significant harm may be present, and prevent the creation of new contaminated land via investigation and remediation of development sites regulated under the planning regime.

The Environment Agency Land Contamination Risk Management (LCRM) guidance breaks down the process for assessing and managing the risks from  contamination land under Part 2A with the process and accompanying technical guidance such as BS5930 and BS10175 also applicable when assessing land contamination via the planning regime.

This procedural guidance breaks down the assessment into four stages. Stage 1 includes the initial formulation of the problems via the production of a phase 1 desk study with tier 1 risk assessment, a preliminary phase 2 site investigation with tier 2 risk assessment and detailed phase 2 site investigation with tier 3 risk assessment.

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    Land Contamination Risk Management

    The stages of assessment and each phase of assessment within each stage is summarised below.

    Stage 1: Investigation
    • Phase 1: Desk Study with Tier 1/Preliminary Risk Assessment. Develop the initial Conceptual Site Model (CSM) using available data and observation gathered during the production of a desk study to establish any potentially unacceptable risks and plan the next phase of assessment.
    • Phase 2: Further detailed & Supplementary Phase 2 Site investigations with Tier 3/Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment could be required as part of this stage. This is achieved via intrusive investigation of the site to allow the collection of soil / water samples for laboratory testing. This data is then used to quantify the risk to receptors using generic assessment criteria and assumptions.
    • Detailed & Supplementary Phase 2 Site investigation with Tier 3/Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment. These investigations are carried out where the initial investigation has identified further work and refinement of the risk assessment. Additional laboratory testing is then used to calculate site-specific assessment criteria, with the aim of better understanding the risks and reduce the area requiring remediation.
    Stage 2: Remediation Options Appraisal
    • Identify feasible remediation options which will achieve the remedial objectives for the site.
    Stage 3: Remediation and Validation
    • Phase 3: Remediation Strategy to outline the remediation methods chosen and instructions on implementation, monitoring and validation.
    • Phase 4: Verification Report demonstrating that the remediation objectives have been met and the site is suitable for the proposed use.

    The details of this Land Contamination Risk Management were last updated April 2021.

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    Phase 1 Desk Study & Preliminary Assessment

    Phase 1: Desk Study & Preliminary Assessment

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    Phase 2 - Contaminated Land Assessment

    Phase 2: Site Investigation

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    Phase 3 - Contaminated Land Assessment

    Phase 3: Remediation Strategy and Remedial Works

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    Phase 4 Validation Works

    Phase 4: Validation Works

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