Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Part 2A
Starting in the mid 18th century, industrial and economic output grew rapidly as Great Britain gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.
The North Staffordshire region was a significant centre of industry. However, the economy developed with little regard for environmental impacts; air, water and land pollution was inconsequential in the drive to increase industrial output. This attitude persisted until the mid-1970s, when legislation to protect the wider environment began to emerge.
Modern industry, of course, is now regulated much more stringently on matters such as pollution and carbon emissions; however, an unwelcome legacy from the Industrial Revolution remains, with many redundant factories, landfills and other sites, and the associated environmental impacts, still to be addressed.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 2A (Part 2A) is the principal means of addressing this legacy.
Part 2A places a statutory duty on local authorities to search their area for contaminated land in accordance with statutory guidance, which is produced by DEFRA.
As a requirement of the statutory guidance, the Council has produced a Contaminated Land Strategy, which provides further information on:-
- The legislative background to contaminated land.
- Information on the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
- The methodology adopted by the Council to identify and prioritise potentially contaminated land.
- How the requirements of Part 2A will be implemented by the Council.
The Council is required to maintain a public registry of notices; at this time, the Council's register has no entries.
Land contamination and planning
The government is currently promoting the development of previously developed land (also known as brownfield land). In practice, this is the most common way of identifying and treating historic land contamination.
By its nature, brownfield land is often associated with land contamination. An obvious example might be a petrol filling station, where underground storage tanks that were once full of petrol might be present.
While the government and the Council seek to encourage the development of brownfield sites in preference to greenfield sites, any risk from land contamination must be properly addressed. Land contamination is also a material planning consideration under the National Planning Policy Framework.
Planning applications to develop sites for sensitive land uses, where land contamination is suspected to be present, must be accompanied by a desk study and site reconnaissance report as a minimum. Environmental protection will recommend that applications which do not include this minimum information are rejected.
If the planning authority considers there to be a potential risk, planning conditions will be applied which will require the risk to be properly assessed and, if needs be, addressed. This will usually be in the form of planning conditions which control development until land contamination issues have been resolved.
The Council has produced a developers guide to land contamination, which outlines the planning process and associated regulatory requirements.
Last updated 22 September 2020