Contaminated land

Information about the Contaminated Land Strategy, and the development of contaminated land in Surrey Heath.

Surrey Heath does not have a significant history of industrial uses, but land in the Borough may still be affected by contamination as a result of historical land use, industrial processes, waste disposal, use by the Ministry of Defence and accidental spillages. If land contamination is not dealt with adequately, it can pose risks to human health, the environment and sustainable economic development.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 2A, local authorities have a duty to manage historic land contamination in their areas that could present unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act defines contaminated land as an area where significant harm to human health, properties, and the health of living organisms is being caused or is very likely to take place because of the substances in, on, or under the land, or where the pollution of controlled waters has occurred, or is likely to be caused. Currently no sites within the borough have been formally determined as contaminated land under this Act, and it is likely that there will be relatively few situations where formal action is taken.

The Council has developed a Contaminated Land Strategy, which sets out the Council’s approach to identifying unacceptable risks to human health and the environment, ensuring that contaminated land is made suitable for its current use, assessing risk as part of site redevelopment, etc.

Information is held on the Council's geographic information system and in hard copy in relation to sites known to it that are potentially or actually contaminated.

The Environmental Health Service responds to specific written requests for information held by the service on historic land uses and investigation data.

For contaminated land enquiries, please complete the online form or contact the Environmental Health team on 01276 707100 or email sends email).

Please note that any information is given with a disclaimer that the information is based on records available to the Council, it may not be comprehensive and the Council has no liability in respect of its provision. Residents and developers are encouraged to make more extensive enquiries.

Developing contaminated land

Although Surrey Heath has a relatively limited history of industrial uses there are many sites within the Borough that have contamination issues.

It is the developer's responsibility to ensure that the development is safe and suitable for its intended use and that appropriate precautions are taken to protect workers on any potentially contaminated site as well as the general public. Developers are expected to make their own inquiries to ascertain any potential for contamination, although the Council can provide some information, as above.

Planning Approvals given to sensitive developments on brownfield sites commonly have conditions attached requiring an assessment of land contamination. It is the Local Planning Authority's (LPA) duty to ensure that the developer undertakes this assessment and implements any remedial requirements in a responsible and effective manner. The Environment Agency and the Environmental Health Service will act as consultees regarding risks to controlled waters and human health respectively.

For further information contact the Planning Service on 01276 707100 or email sends email)