Planning applications on contaminated land

How to carry out a contaminated land assessment as part of a planning application, and what information we require

Dealing with land contamination

Most development takes place on land that has already had one use. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government's policy on dealing with land contamination through the planning process. The NPPF states that a development site should be suitable for its new use and that responsibility for securing a safe development rests with the developer and/or landowner.

When considering an application for planning consent, the planning authority will take into account ground conditions and proposals for mitigation. In order to do this, adequate site investigation information prepared by a competent person must be submitted in support of the application.

We recommend early discussions with us to help you provide the information needed to support your planning application. If you don't have the expertise to submit the information, you may need to hire an environmental consultant.

Submitting a planning application

Within the existing use section of your planning application form, you'll be asked if:

  • the land is known to be contaminated or
  • if contamination is suspected for all or part of the site

For any sites that have had a use that could cause contamination we'll need additional information with your planning application. Please see below for what we require.

Requirements for types of development on potentially contaminated land

Type of development

Submit with your planning application

New build

Desk study and preliminary risk assessment report

Site with previous agricultural use

Screening  Assessment Form

Sensitive developments

If the proposed use is particularly vulnerable to the presence of contamination, you'll need to submit the following with your application:

Requirements for types of sensitive development

Type of sensitive development

Submit with your planning application

Residential development of 10 or more houses
(including nursing homes)

Desk study and preliminary risk assessment report

Residential development of 1-9 houses

Screening  Assessment Form

Allotments

Screening  Assessment Form

School

Screening  Assessment Form

 Information is available in our land contamination investigations leaflet. The screening assessment form is available to download.

Development of Land Affected by Contamination Technical Guidance for Developers, Landowners and Consultants Is a helpful source of advice and sets out in more detail what we would expect to be submitted when potentially contaminated land is going through the planning process.

The Technical Guidance is also useful when discharging conditions on potentially contaminated land.