Thanet District Council

 

Contaminated Land

Strategy

 

Revised October 2018-2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Introduction

This strategy outlines how Thanet District Council (the council), will meet its statutory duties to investigate potentially contaminated land in the District as laid out under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance, April 2012 (DEFRA); referred to as the statutory guidance.

This strategy should be read in conjunction with the statutory guidance which contains the legal and scientific detail behind the strategy and alongside Thanet’s Draft Local Plan (July 2018-2031) Policies (SE01-SE014). This strategy reflects the financial constraints that the council is now facing and will continue to face over the coming years.

Thanet District Council’s Corporate Aims

The requirements relating to contaminated land as set out within Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 are consistent with Thanet’s 2015-2019 Corporate Priority 1 – ‘A clean and welcoming environment’ and  Thanet District Council's Corporate Vision 2030, in particular the Council’s role in transforming Thanet:

“The Council is recognised for the quality of the services it provides, its attentiveness to the needs of residents, and for always keeping the needs of those who are less able to help themselves to the fore”.

Land contamination has impacts on both the environment and local economy. The Government is committed to maximising the re-use of previously developed land. Directing new development towards previously developed land will also help towards the Thanet Local Plan 2018 Policy of Sustainable Development.

The Council aims to be at the forefront of good practice and provide a high standard of efficient and effective services. To achieve this aim it will be necessary to engage as many people in the community as possible.

The Council recognises that with the increased demand for housing, and the resulting need to redevelop old Brownfield sites that this brings, the importance of ensuring that the land is suitable for its intended use and the risk of harm is even greater now than at any time in the past.

The Council intends to work in partnership with appropriate persons, providing guidance and information, to ensure contaminated sites are remediated to an acceptable standard. Where appropriate persons demonstrate a continual willingness to take voluntary remediation action, the Council will refrain from serving a remediation notice.

The following sections outline how the Council intends to fulfil its statutory role as regulator and enforcing authority for the identification, designation, and remediation of Contaminated Land. The Authority will refer to regulatory and statutory guidance at all times when carrying out inspections and assessments under its duties specified in Part IIA Environmental Protection Act 1990, as outlined in this strategy document.

 

Objectives

 The main objective of introducing Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 is to provide an improved system for the identification and remediation of land where contamination is causing unacceptable risks to human health or the wider environment given the current circumstances and use of the land.

The Government's intention is that Part IIA will;

          Improve transparency and focus of regulatory controls

          Ensure regulators take a strategic approach to land contamination problems

          Allow all contamination problems to be dealt with as part of the same process

          Increase consistency in regulatory approaches

          Provide a more tailored regulatory mechanism, including liability rules, that is better able to reflect the complexity and range of circumstances found on individual sites

The Act is supported by statutory guidance, which contains much of the detailed advice to regulators and others on how Part IIA is to be implemented. The cessation of Defra’s Capital Funding programme in March 2017 means that the funding burden for detailed assessments falls to the local authority. Work will therefore only the be undertaken on a site specific basis; where alternative avenues have been explored and senior management have agreed that investigation works should be conducted for specific high priority cases.

Legislation

The primary legislation which underpins the UK contaminated land regime is contained within Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which was inserted via Section 57 of the Environment Act 1995.

The regime was brought into force in England via a Statutory Instrument in April 2000, with detailed Statutory Guidance (SG), being implemented simultaneously. The statutory guidance, updated in 2012, provides further details of how the regime must be enforced and, although certain aspects of it have been revised since the original version (including the addition of ‘normal’ background levels), the requirements relating to how land should be determined as “contaminated” based on risks to human health have remained unchanged.

Section 78A of Part IIA defines contaminated land as:

“Any land which appears to the local authority in whose area the land is situated to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land, that

(a) significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm (SPOSH) being caused; or

(b) pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused”.

Harm is defined within Section 78A as:

“Harm to the health of living organisms or other interference with the ecological systems of which they form part, and in the case of man, includes harm to his property.”

In terms of the overall assessment process for land suspected of being contaminated, the guidance associated with the contaminated land regime states the following:

“The definition of contaminated land is based upon the principles of risk assessment. For the purposes of the guidance, “risk” is defined as the combination of:

(a) the probability, or frequency, of occurrence of a defined hazard (for example, exposure to a property of a substance with the potential to cause harm); and

(b) the magnitude (including the seriousness) of the consequences.”

The following should be regarded as “significant harm” to humans:

“Death, disease, serious injury, genetic mutation, birth defects or the impairment of reproductive functions. For these purposes, disease is to be taken to mean an unhealthy condition of the body or a part of it and can include, for example, cancer, liver dysfunction or extensive skin ailments. Mental dysfunction is included only insofar as it is attributable to the effects of a pollutant on the body of the person concerned.”

In order for land to be determined as contaminated land on the grounds of SPOSH to human health,  the local authority  must be satisfied that:

“The amount of the pollutant in the pollutant linkage in question which a human receptor in that linkage might take in, or to which such a human might otherwise be exposed, as a result of the pathway in that linkage, would represent an unacceptable intake or direct bodily contact, assessed on the basis of relevant information on the toxicological properties of that pollutant.”

Further details are not provided in the on what should be regarded as an “unacceptable intake”, although any assessment of its likelihood should take into account:

“the likely total intake of, or exposure to, the substance or substances which form the pollutant, from all sources including that from the pollutant linkage in question;

the relative contribution of the pollutant linkage in question to the likely aggregate intake of, or exposure to, the relevant substance or substances;

and the duration of intake or exposure resulting from the pollutant linkage in question.”

It is also noted that:

“The question of whether an intake or exposure is unacceptable is independent of the number of people who might experience or be affected by that intake or exposure. Toxicological properties should be taken to include carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, pathogenic, endocrine-disrupting and other similar properties.”

Taken together, Part IIA and the statutory guidance provide a clear legal need for regulators to act in accordance with, what constitutes an unacceptable intake of a given substance, in order to determine land under Part IIA on the basis of Significant Possibility of Significant Harm (SPOSH).

The statutory guidance should be read and applied with Part IIA and the following points in mind:

England has a considerable legacy of historical land contamination involving a very wide range of substances. On all land there are background levels of substances, including substances that are naturally present as a result of our varied and complex geology and substances resulting from diffuse human pollution. On some land there are greater concentrations of contaminants, often associated with industrial use and waste disposal. In a minority of cases there may be sufficient risk to health or the environment for such land to be considered contaminated land.

Part IIA provides a means of dealing with unacceptable risks posed by land contamination to human health and the environment, and enforcing authorities should seek to find and deal with such land. Under Part IIA the starting point should be that land is not contaminated land unless there is reason to consider otherwise. Only land where unacceptable risks are clearly identified, after a risk assessment has been undertaken in accordance with this Guidance, should be considered as meeting the Part IIA definition of contaminated land.

The overarching objectives of the Government’s policy on contaminated land and the Part IIA regime are:

(a) To identify and remove unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

(b) To seek to ensure that contaminated land is made suitable for its current use.

(c) To ensure that the burdens faced by individuals, companies and society as a whole are proportionate, manageable and compatible with the principles of sustainable development.

Enforcing authorities should seek to use Part IIA only where no appropriate alternative solution exists. The Part IIA regime is one of several ways in which land contamination can be addressed. For example, land contamination can be addressed when land is developed (or redeveloped) under the planning system, during the building control process, or where action is taken independently by landowners. Other legislative regimes may also provide a means of dealing with land contamination issues, such as building regulations; the regimes for waste, water, and environmental permitting; and the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009, as amended.

Under Part IIA , the enforcing authority may need to decide whether and how to act in situations where such decisions are not straightforward, and where there may be unavoidable uncertainty underlying some of the facts of each case. In so doing, the authority should use its judgement to strike a reasonable balance between: (a) dealing with risks raised by contaminants in land and the benefits of remediating land to remove or reduce those risks; and (b) the potential impacts of regulatory intervention including financial costs to whoever will pay for remediation (including the taxpayer where relevant), health and environmental impacts of taking action, property blight, and burdens on affected people. The authority should take a precautionary approach to the risks raised by contamination, whilst avoiding a disproportionate approach given the circumstances of each case. The aim should be to consider the various benefits and costs of taking action, with a view to ensuring that the regime produces net benefits, taking account of local circumstances.

Part IIA requires that local authorities cause their areas to be inspected with a view to identifying contaminated land, and to do this in accordance with the Statutory Guidance.

The statutory guidance recognises that there are two broad types of “inspection” likely to be carried out by local authorities: (a) strategic inspection, for example collecting information to make a broad assessment of land within an authority’s area and then identifying priority land for more detailed consideration; and (b) carrying out the detailed inspection of particular land to obtain information on ground conditions and carrying out the risk assessments which support decisions under the Part IIA regime relevant to that land. This Guidance refers to the former as “strategic inspection” and the latter as “detailed inspection”.

Strategic Inspection

The government advises that the local authority should take a strategic approach to carrying out its inspection duty under section 78B(1). This approach should be rational, ordered and efficient, and it should reflect local circumstances. Strategic approaches may vary between local authorities.

The local authority should set out its approach as a written strategy, which it should formally adopt and publish to a timescale to be set by the authority. Strategies produced in accordance with previous versions of Statutory Guidance should be updated or replaced to reflect the current guidance.

The local authority should keep its written strategy under periodic review to ensure it remains up to date. It is for the authority to decide when its strategy should be reviewed, although as good practice it should aim to review its strategy every five years.

The local authority should include in its strategy:

(a) Its aims, objectives and priorities, taking into account the characteristics of its area.

(b) A description of relevant aspects of its area.

(c) Its approach to strategic inspection of its area or parts of it.

(d) Its approach to the prioritisation of detailed inspection and remediation activity.

(e) How its approach under Part IIA fits with its broader approach to dealing with land contamination. For example, its broader approach may include using the planning system to ensure land is made suitable for use when it is redeveloped; and/or encouraging polluters/owners of land affected by contamination to deal with problems without the need for Part IIA to be used directly; and/or encouraging problematic land to be dealt with as part of wider regeneration work.

(f) Broadly, how the authority will seek to minimise unnecessary burdens on the taxpayer, businesses and individuals; for example by encouraging voluntary action to deal with land contamination issues as far as it considers reasonable and practicable.

When the local authority is carrying out detailed inspection of land in accordance with Part IIA, it should seek to give priority to particular areas of land that it considers most likely to pose the greatest risk to human health or the environment.

The process of strategic inspection, including prioritisation of detailed inspection activities, may give rise to property blight issues. The local authority should seek to minimise or reduce such potential blight as far as it considers reasonable. The authority should also be open to moves by the landowner (or some other interested party) to help resolve the status of the land themselves. For example, the authority may decide that the land is, or is not, contaminated land on the basis of information provided by the land owner or other interested party, provided the authority is satisfied with the robustness of the information.

Inspection Process

The Council has a duty to inspect the land within its boundary with the aim of assessing whether the land is suitable for its current or proposed use. This can be broken down into three main elements:

(a) Assessing whether land is suitable for its current use.

The Council is required to identify any land where contamination is causing unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. The Council reviews each site with the aim of identifying significant pollutant linkages. This involves the identification of one or more contaminants (the Source), one or more vulnerable receptors to this contaminant (e.g. children playing, water protection zone etc.) and a pathway that the contaminant may utilise to reach the receptor. This is the Source – Pathway – Receptor principle of risk assessment. Where contamination of this nature is identified, it is the role of the Council to identify the appropriate person(s) responsible for the remediation of the land.

(b) Ensure that land is made suitable for any new use, as planning permission is given for that use.

This requires the site to be risk assessed, taking into account the potential for significant harm from contamination, based on proposed future use and site users. The Council’s planning department will consult with the Environmental Protection Team when assessing planning applications that involve sites where actual or potential contamination exists. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the site’s suitability for the proposed use, or how it will be made suitable as part of the development process.

(c) Limit requirements for remediation to the work necessary to bring the level of risk of significant harm to human health or the environment to within acceptable levels, taking into account the current or proposed use. Any change in this current or proposed use may require further remediation.

Therefore, it is within the appropriate person(s) or developer’s best interest to identify all current and proposed uses to avoid unnecessary cost and wasting of resources.

It should be noted that the contaminated land regime and legislation is not applicable where contamination has resulted as a result of a specific breach of an environmental license or permit. In this instance the polluter is required, under the relevant regulatory regime, to remove the contamination completely.

Strategy Objectives

          To take a proportionate approach to the risks raised by contaminated land whilst ensuring that any unacceptable risk to human health or the wider environment is resolved.

          To undertake Identification and Prioritisation of Potential Sites of Concern in Thanet

          All investigations and risk assessments will be site specific, scientifically robust and will ensure only land that poses a genuinely unacceptable risk is determined as contaminated.

          To determine contaminated sites where appropriate and add to a public register.

          To work with the Environment Agency with regards to designations of Special Sites.

          To apportion liability for Remediating Contaminated Land.

          The Council will consider the various benefits and costs of taking action, with a view to ensuring that corporate priorities and statutory requirements are met in a balanced and proportionate manner.

          Communicate effectively with development control, appropriate persons and interested parties.

Area Overview

Geographical Location

The Isle of Thanet is an attractive and pleasant coastal District which lies at the eastern most extremity of Kent, in the southeast of England, and in close proximity to the Continent. Urban development comprising the historic towns of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs has largely covered Thanet’s extensive chalk cliff coastline. 

Surrounding and penetrating the large urban area is gently undulating open countryside of large open arable fields consisting of some of the highest quality and most intensively farmed agricultural land in Kent and England. Thanet also has a number of interesting coastal and rural villages. 

Thanet is connected to the rest of Kent via a constantly evolving road network with the most recent change being the construction of the East Kent Access Road. Ramsgate port and London Manston airport may provide the area with links to the European mainland. 

Brief description and History

Up to the mid 1800’s, the Thanet area was predominantly a commercial arable farming community with some seafaring activities. In particular, the Margate docks monopolised the corn trade to London in the 1850’s. Broadstairs in the 18th and 19th century was known for its shipbuilding. Around this time, the area became popular for its seaside activities, in particular visitors from London. This popularity increased with the development of the train network to the area. Today tourism remains important but like other seaside resorts, this sector has suffered because of cheap holidays abroad.

In modern times, there is a predominance of light industrial employment with small to medium size firms, although heavier industry did take place. These are predominantly grouped on purpose built and historic industrial parks, but many are isolated amongst other urban development. The Council has identified the majority of these areas as part of its Local Plan. 

Size and Population Distribution

The area within the Council’s boundary is 10,322 hectares (25,505 acres), and has a population of approximately 140,000 people. 95% of the population live in the main urban centres of Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate and Birchington. The remaining 5% reside in the surrounding villages. 

Council Ownership of Land

The Council has extensive land ownership within the district. The majority of this land is in the coastal areas with some isolated areas throughout the remaining district. Land use includes primarily beach and holiday facilities, offices, business parks and housing. The Council has created a GIS system that holds details of all Council owned land, size and use; as the former paper based records were labour intensive. 

Current Land Use Characteristics

Thanet District is divided between 30% urban and 70% rural land uses (by area). With the exception of the seven villages, the majority of the rural area is in agricultural use, primarily for intensive arable production.

The main urban area is located around the coast. The main industrial areas are located at the centre of this urban zone, in and around the Westwood area. The former airport is a major and prominent land use feature in its own right, comprising of more than 300ha. 

Protected Locations (Natural Habitats Etc.)

Thanet is a unique and vibrant coastal area, with an attractive environment and a number of unique features. Much of the coast is recognised for its internationally important habitats, including coastal chalk and significant populations of coastal birds.

Most of the Thanet Coast (with the exception of Viking Bay, Broadstairs, and some areas around Ramsgate harbour) is covered by statutory nature conservation designations. This is reflected in the coast’s designation under international and national legislation, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation, and a Marine Conservation Zone. These areas are protected by legislation to prevent harm to them from development change and other human activity.

Certain parts of the district are also designated as Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (of county importance) and Landscape Protection Areas. 

Key Property types

As well as its rich natural environment, the district has a rich historic environment with approx. 2,000 Listed Buildings, 12 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, and 27 Conservation Areas. 

 

 

Water Resources

The Isle of Thanet has nearly 26 miles of coastline, which are characterised by a distinctive and rare combination of chalk cliffs and extensive sandy beaches. The district also contains large areas of low lying land, most comprising the former flood plain of the river Wantsum. Key water resource areas include those designated as of local, regional or national importance e.g. Sites of Special Scientific Interest. 

Abstraction and water storage sites, along with groundwater source protection zones (SPZ’s) comprise the remaining key water resource areas. Southern Water supply the majority of the District’s drinking water. 

Information on Contamination in the District

Known information on contamination in the district is primarily limited to previous industrial sites and redeveloped sites adjacent to the urban area. If development is proposed on an area of land where past use may have resulted in contamination, the Council may have requested a site investigation as part of a planning condition. If development proceeded on these sites, remedial works will often have been carried out to improve the site conditions. Planning records will therefore form a valuable resource during the investigation process. 

Current and Past Industrial History

There is a limited industrial legacy in the district. The main historical industrial activities included town gas production, electricity generation (former Richborough Power Station) and small scale metal processing. Historically the main land use was agricultural with some marine associated activities (e.g. boat building and shipping) carried out at the main coastal areas. Tourism later emerged for a time as a significant land use activity and employer. 

In common with many other parts of the country, Thanet’s legacy of industrial activity dates back over the last few hundred years. During this time, Thanet has been home to numerous industries, including mining, manufacturing, construction, farming, gas works, chemical works, military activities and aviation. The Manston Airport site still has an existing use for aviation and is subject to a DCO-NSIP process following its closure in May 2014. If a DCO for aviation use at the site is granted, this would require a partial review of the Thanet Local Plan in relation to housing land supply provisions, aviation and environmental policies and other related matters.

The infilling of former clay and sand pits has also taken place in Thanet. The following graph gives an indication of the prevalence of these types of industrial activity over the past 150 years.

Standardisedindustrydata

In the past there were far fewer restrictions on industry than are in place today and many facilities operated with little regard to their impact on the environment. These former industrial activities may have left contamination in the ground, which if not properly dealt with can pose a risk to public health or the environment. The type of contamination can vary substantially from site to site, but some of the more common causes for concern include heavy metals (e.g. mercury and lead), hydrocarbons (e.g. oils, fuels and solvents) and domestic and industrial wastes (e.g. landfill, dry cleaners). 

Geological / Hydrogeological Characteristics

The Thanet Peninsula is predominantly upper chalk beds that plunge underground in the south. In the past, this layer was covered by a thin layer of younger rocks known as the Thanet Beds. Today these beds are only present in the south of the peninsula. In the southern most areas of the peninsula are some scattered deposits of drift or alluvium (silt). The chalk beds are not large aquifers but there are large areas of groundwater reservoirs that are used for mains water supply and agriculture. These groundwater reservoirs make up the bulk of the Environment Agency’s groundwater source protection zones. Some clay beds exist in the former Wantsum Channel. The formations of rocks in Kent underlying Thanet and of key relevance to the fate and transport of contaminants in the ground are Upper Cretaceous Chalk and Lower Cretaceous Sandstones. 

Chalk forms the underlying rock throughout the Isle of Thanet, as can be clearly seen from the chalk cliffs forming the coastlines.  Not only does it determine the distinctive scenery in the area, but also, through the influence of geology on drainage patterns and soil types, it in turn effects vegetation patterns, farm practices, and population distributions.  Its influence on architectural and building practices is also seen in the use of flints extracted from the chalk as a building material. Geographical areas underlain by the chalk are characterised by distinctive landscape features such as dry valleys and coombs, and also by spectacular coastlines. 

In terms of geological age, the chalk is assigned to the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era.  The material of the chalk is calcium carbonate (CaCo3), and the rock is essentially a very pure limestone. On microscopic examination, chalk rock has been found to consist mostly of the fossilised remains of a microscopic algae known as coccoliths, mixed with finely fragmented shelly material from a variety of organisms including bivalves and sea urchins, and also the microscopic shells of foraminifera. The entire sequence of the chalk can be up to 300 metres thick, although in Thanet only the top part of the sequence is visible.   

The Geological Deposits of Thanet

GEOLOGICAL ERA

GEOLOGICAL SYSTEM

DESCRIPTION

TYPE OF DEPOSITION

CONDITIONS OF DEPOSITION

THICKNESS

Cainozoic-Quaternary

 

Dark organic clays and silts

Gravels

River gravels

River alluvium

Marine alluvium

Marine beach deposits

River terrace

River floodplain

Marine shoreline

 

 

Pleistocene

(Ice Age)

1ma. - 15,000 BP

 

Loess

Wind-borne deposits

 

 

 

 

Brickearth

Reworked loess etc.

 

 

 

Chalky rubble

Coombe rock

Valley-fill

solifluction

 

Cainozoic-Tertiary

(the lower Tertiaries)

Eocene Period

(64-38 ma.)

Stiff dark grey silty clay

The London Clay

Marine

146m.

 

 

Pebbly silty sand. Basal pebble bed

Oldhaven Beds

Marine

2-7m.

 

 

Glauconitic sand and sandy clays

Woolwich Beds

Marine

7-12m.

 

 

Green grey sand and shell beds

Thanet Beds

Marine

18-35m.

Mesozoic

Cretaceous Period

(135-64 ma.)

Soft white limestone

Santonian

(The Chalk)

Marine

sub-tropical

300m.

Palaeozoic

No rocks of this age occur at the surface in this area

 

 

 

 

 

What have we done already?

In 2018 the Council procured new Geo Environ GIS software to replace obsolete software and, as part of the data transfer, undertook a prioritisation exercise in line with current statutory guidance. There are currently approximately 650 sites in our GIS database. The vast majority of these are likely to be low risk sites; for instance where small to medium areas of ground have been in-filled with inert or unknown material over time. These sites will not be investigated further unless they are developed through planning or new information is found. The information in the database is regularly updated as new information becomes available or sites are redeveloped and remediated e.g. through the planning system. The statutory guidance encourages private land owners to carry out their own assessment. The council if satisfied with the work undertaken we will accept their conclusions and enter them into the database.

What do we need to do?

The Statutory Guidance requires the council to continue to identify and prioritise sites that may be potentially contaminated by their historic or current use. Detailed inspections/investigations of sites where a need for further investigation has been identified will be undertaken through the development process, voluntary action, or by the local authority on a site specific basis, subject to the availability of funding.

How are we proposing to do it?

The council has built a database of potentially contaminated sites across the District. The new Geoenviron software package will rank the sites according to priority based on presence of receptors (e.g. land use, geology, water supplies, rivers, property) and sources (potential or confirmed contaminants present). This database will be updated as new information becomes available. The software enables us to produce a list of sites for detailed inspection according to highest potential risk (priority). The list will be changed as more information is found about different sites, or the risk rating revised or new sites are added. The list of potential sites is not a public document. Any land that is formally determined as contaminated and requires that remediation notices are served will be put on the register which is a public a document.

A detailed inspection of a site will establish whether pathways are present between the source (e.g. oil) and the receptors (e.g. people). This is known as a pollutant linkage. For a site to meet the statutory definition of Contaminated land there needs to be a significant possibility of significant harm to an identified receptor. This is a stringent test.

The detailed inspection of a site will start with a desktop study. The data gathered will be used to update the council’s data base of potentially contaminated sites. At this point the council will consider whether and when the funding necessary to undertake further investigation can be released on a site specific basis.

The detailed inspection of a site will not go beyond a desktop study and site walkover unless it is identified that there is a reasonable possibility that a significant pollutant linkage may exist at the site. The council will follow the detailed statutory guidance at all points of the process and will work with the Environment Agency and external experts where appropriate. Where the potential for a significant pollutant linkage is identified, preliminary soil and groundwater tests may be carried out. Where appropriate this will be on verges, public areas, in areas likely to cause least disruption, but may include garden areas. This is likely to be carried out by an outside consultant providing specialist services to the council. All reasonable efforts will be made to contact and inform site owners, tenants, users, and other interested people before starting a detailed inspection of a site.

Only where a significant harm or a significant possibility of significant harm to a qualifying receptor (see statutory guidance) is identified will the site be designated as contaminated land/a special site. Land cannot be identified as ‘contaminated land’, under Part IIA, unless all three elements of a pollutant linkage have been established. If appropriate the council will proceed to secure satisfactory remediation of the site, identify liable persons and recover costs in accordance with the Act and the statutory guidance.

It is expected that the majority of the investigation and remediation of the sites identified will happen during the development or redevelopment of those sites. Where a “brownfield” site is developed particularly for a more sensitive ‘end use’ e.g. residential with gardens the planning system is designed to ensure that it is suitable for its use after the development.

The council will use existing resources to focus on identifying former potentially contaminated sites through “desktop” based work adding to and refining the information that we currently have. Where we establish that a site is of particular concern the responsible officer will present the information to the council/senior management on site specific basis and, if agreed, funds will be allocated to enable further investigation.

Special Sites

There is a category of contaminated site that is termed a special site. These are sites that meet a specific set of circumstances, generally where the main receptor is some form of controlled water such as a river or an aquifer. The detailed definition is found in the statutory guidance. Where the council thinks that a site might be a special site it will request that the Environment Agency take over as the lead authority for it. The mechanism for this is also within the statutory guidance. The council will then work with the Environment Agency as the site is investigated and remediated if necessary.

Enabling Residents

Where any resident lives on or near a potentially contaminative former land use, they may wish to engage the services of a professional consultant to investigate their property. This circumstance may occur if the site is considered to be of low risk by council, so not scheduled for further inspection in the near future, but a mortgage lender will not lend without clearing any uncertainty. In these cases the council will provide as much assistance as it can to the resident in the form of liaising with any consultants on the scope of proposed investigations, and reviewing any results and reports. Where no contamination is found the council will provide confirmation of this in writing for the use of the resident. If unacceptable levels of contamination are found, the council will revise the priority rating for the site.

What are the possible outcomes of a detailed inspection?

Detailed inspection and risk assessment may show that an unacceptable risk is being caused. If it is, the council will determine the site and place the records on a public register. The council will then decide based upon all of the available information and the statutory guidance if remediation of the site should be carried out. If remediation is carried out this will be only be done where necessary and the council will work with residents to keep them informed and minimise disruption as much as possible.

The statutory guidance describes in detail the possible outcomes of detailed inspection for all receptors. Sites will be assigned categories (1-4). Generally, sites in category 1 will require immediate action (designation as contaminated land); sites in category 2 may require immediate action. Sites in category three may not meet the stringent definition of contaminated land but may require observation or monitoring and sites in category four are unlikely to meet the definition of contaminated land. For controlled water receptors the council will consult the Environment Agency.

Risk Ratings and Outcomes

The table below shows the categories that sites may be allocated and the action likely to be taken by the council, subject to available resources. Sites will be put into these categories based upon the information known about them. This will begin at the initial prioritisation and if necessary continue through to the remediation of the site. A site could move between categories as more information is found about it and risk assessments revised.

Table showing risk ratings categories.

Category        Description

 

 

1

Site strongly suspected to constitute ‘Contaminated Land’ based on robust  evidence – intrusive investigation necessary. Full review of existing site data necessary to develop detailed inspection strategy and conceptual model.

 

2

Medium risk – intrusive investigation likely required to resolve potential risks. Clean up considered possible under Part IIA and priority action recommended.

 

3

Low to Medium Risk- intrusive investigation recommended to resolve potential risks. Clean up can not be excluded under part IIA. Initial site investigation will not be funded by the council as this will divert available resources from high risk sites. Site owners will be assisted to undertake their own investigations and risk assessments. Should these assessments indicate that the site should be reassessed as category 1 or 2 the council will re-evaluate the risk.

 

4

Low risk- likelihood of contamination is considered low and if present the impact is such that clean up could not be reasonably justified. It is highly unlikely that further work will required on these sites. Should residents wish to adopt the same approach to category 3 sites this will be followed.

 

Please note, the local authority may postpone determination of contaminated land if the land owner or some other person undertakes to deal with the problem without determination, and the authority is satisfied that the remediation will happen to an appropriate standard and timescale. If the authority chooses to do this, any agreement it enters into should not affect its ability to determine the land in future (ie. if the person fails to carry out the remediation as agreed). Where the council is the landowner, a high priority will be given to investigation of the site.

Who pays for all of this?

Central government no longer provides capital support for investigation work. Outside of the development control process or voluntary agreements, the Council must therefore fund any investigation work and the commissioning of specialist services for detailed inspections. Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes clear that wherever possible the original polluter and/or a developer that knowingly developed a contaminated site without ensuring suitable levels of remediation are completed should pay for any remediation needed in later years. The council will make every effort to ensure that this is the case. However the legal process is time consuming and difficult particularly when pollution and/or development was many years ago, or the people and companies involved no longer exist. Where it is not possible to make the original polluter or developer pay for remediation the legislation makes the current person in ownership (residents) of the land a responsible person for funding remediation. Where this situation occurs the council will work with residents and apply a hardship policy to fairly identify the level of contribution that may be required from all parties and any contribution that can be made by the council.

Following the announcement of £10M funding for dealing with abandoned waste sites in the new 2018 budget, the council will liaise with the Environment Agency regarding applicable criteria and possibilities for applying for funds to remediate any relevant sites in Thanet.

Investigating reports of possible land contamination

If there are reports that a piece of land is or has been contaminated either historically or recently this be will investigated according to standard complaints investigation procedures. If the problem can be resolved directly as a result of the investigation either by giving advice or taking enforcement action this will be done. If not then the results of the investigation will be used to inform the councils overall prioritisation of potentially contaminated sites’ data base.

What are the wider benefits of this strategy?

As a result of the data collated during the initial prioritisation the council has a searchable layer for specialist officers which links directly to the Planning and Building Control registration. This ensures that the appropriate officers of the council are consulted on any planning application that may be at risk from land contamination. The council is also able to provide an environmental information research requests service (e.g. from solicitors when people are moving house). Please contact: Environmental.Health@thanet.gov.uk for further information and applicable fees.

How will we measure our progress in implementing this strategy?

The strategic inspection process is by nature an iterative process. It is normal that sites will be added and removed from the database as information becomes available. We aim to add more detailed knowledge about sites each year using existing resources. This increased knowledge will enable the council to refine the prioritisation further, reduce the number of sites that need more detailed investigation and identify those that need detailed investigation most urgently.

How does this strategy interact with the planning system?

The statutory guidance and the new National Planning Policy framework (NPPF) both have the concept that potentially contaminated land must be shown to be suitable for its use. As a minimum this means that the site must be incapable of being designated as contaminated land as defined under Part2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The council, will as a general rule, expect that a standard higher than this minimum level will be achieved. It is considered that someone purchasing a new build home is entitled to a high degree of confidence that if remediation was needed, it has been completed to a better standard than the minimum under this legislation.

For larger developments or where there may be a question over the viability of the application due to contaminated land the council will expect any planning application for land which may be affected by contamination to be accompanied by the report of a desktop study as defined in British Standard BS10175:2011 + A2:2017 ”Investigation of potentially contaminated sites – Code of Practice”. This report should identify that the site has been assessed as suitable for use or in the event that further works are needed, to detail them and discuss how the site can reasonably be made suitable for the proposed use. All reports should be completed by a suitably qualified “competent” person as defined in the NPPF.

Guidance on what the council expects from developers in relation to contaminated land can be found on the Thanet District Council website under ‘Developing on Contaminated Land’: https://www.thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/contaminated-land/

Summary

        The council has identified and prioritised a large number of potential sites.

        Most of them are low risk and will not be investigated further.

        A small number will be investigated further to see if they are contaminated and need to be remediated. The primary mechanism for undertaking site investigation works will be through the development process.

        Initial of investigation will be undertaken using existing resources.

        Further phases will need site specific funding from the council based upon the specific circumstances at the time.

        Where residents require contaminated land investigations, in cases where the council is not scheduled to do so, it will provide advice and assistance to the appointed contractor.

        Investigations might show that unacceptable risk is being caused. The council will ensure that only land that poses a genuinely unacceptable risk is formally determined. It will then be remediated if that is the most appropriate thing to do.

        The council will work with residents to ensure that they are involved in and informed of any site investigation and remediation that affects them. Officers will work to avoid any unnecessary disruption or distress.

        The council will try to make previous polluters or developers pay for remediation. Where this is not possible, residents will be required to contribute and we will work with them and apply a hardship policy to make sure that this as fair as possible.

        The council will investigate reports about potentially contaminated land and either give advice or take action accordingly.

Contact us

If you would like to talk about this strategy or other matters related to contaminated land in detail please contact the Environmental Protection Team at Environmental.Health@thanet.gov.uk


 

APPENDIX 1

ECOLOGICAL AND PROPERTY RECEPTOR TABLES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 2

RECEPTOR SCORES Employed by GeoEnviron

Groundwater and Ecology

Land use and Property

 

APPENDIX 3

HAZARD CRITERIA - RISK SCORES Employed by GeoEnviron

Industry Profile Hazards

CODE

INDUSTRIAL PROFILE

GROUNDWATER

SURFACE WATER

HUMAN HEALTH/ECOLOGY

DOE 01

Airports

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 02

Animal and animal products processing

MH

MH

MH

DOE 03

Asbestos manufacturing works

Medium

Medium

MH

DOE 04

Ceramics, cement and asphalt manufacturing works

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 05

Chemical works : Coatings (paints and printing inks)

High

High

High

DOE 06

Chemical works: Cosmetics and toiletries manufacturing works

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 07

Chemical works: Disinfectants manufacturing works

High

High

High

DOE 08

Chemical Works: Explosives, propellants & pyrotechnics

High

High

High

DOE 09

Chemical works: Fertiliser manufacturing works

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 10

Chemical Works: Fine chemicals manufacturing works

High

High

High

DOE 11

Chemical Works: Inorganic chemicals manufacturing works

High

High

High

DOE 12

Chemical Works: Linoleum, vinyl & bitumen-based floor covering

MH

LM

High

DOE 13

Chemical Works : Mastics, Sealants, adhesives & roofing felt

MH

MH

MH

DOE 14

Chemical Works: Organic chemicals manufacturing works

mh

mh

mh

DOE 15

Chemical Works: Pesticides manufacturing works

VH

MH

VH

DOE 16

Chemical Works: Pharmaceuticals manufacturing works

MH

VH

MH

DOE 17

Chemical Works: Rubber processing works

LM

MH

Medium

DOE 18

Chemical Works: Soap & detergent manufacturing works

LM

LM

Low

DOE 19

Dockyards and docklands

High

High

VH

DOE 20

Engineering works: aircraft manufacturing works

MH

MH

MH

DOE 21

Electrical & electronic equipment manufacturing works

MH

MH

High

DOE 22

Engineering Works: Mechanical engineering and ordnance works

VH

VH

VH

DOE 23

Engineering Works: Railway engineering works

MH

MH

High

DOE 24

Engineering Works: Shipbuilding , repair and ship breaking

MH

MH

MH

DOE 25

Engineering works: vehicle manufacturing works

High

High

High

DOE 26

Gas works, coke works, coal carbonisation plants

High

High

High

DOE 27

Metal Works : Electroplating and other metal finishing works

MH

MH

High

DOE 28

Metal manufacturing: Iron and steelworks

High

High

High

DOE 29

Metal manufacturing, refining and finishing works:Lead works

MH

MH

MH

DOE 30

Metal Works : Non-ferrous metal works (excluding lead works)

MH

MH

High

DOE 31

Metal Works: Precious metal recovery works

MH

MH

MH

DOE 32

Oil refineries & bulk storage of crude oil and pet products

MH

MH

MH

DOE 33

Power stations (excluding nuclear power stations)

High

High

VH

DOE 34

Pulp and paper manufacturing works

MH

MH

High

DOE 35

Railway land

MH

MH

MH

DOE 36

Road vehicles: Garages and filling stations

MH

MH

MH

DOE 37

Road Vehicles: Transport and haulage centres

mh

mh

mh

DOE 38

Sewage works and sewage farms

High

High

High

DOE 39

Textile works and dye works

High

High

High

DOE 40

Timber products manufacturing works

MH

MH

MH

DOE 41

Timber treatment works

VH

High

VH

DOE 42

Waste Recycling: Drum and tank cleaning and recycling plants

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 43

Waste Treatment: Hazard waste treatment plants

High

High

High

DOE 44

Waste: Landfills and other waste treatment & disposal sites

VH

High

VH

DOE 45

Waste recycling, treatment & disposal: Metal recycling sites

MH

MH

High

DOE 46

Waste recycling, treatment & disposal: Solvent recovery works

Medium

Medium

Medium

DOE 47

Charcoal works

High

High

High

DOE 48

Dry-cleaners

High

high

High

DOE 49

Fibreglass and fibre glass resins manufacturing works

High

High

VH

DOE 50

Glass manufacturing works

High

High

High

DOE 51

Photographic processing industry

High

High

High

DOE 52

Printing and bookbinding works

High

High

High

DOE 99

Unspecified

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 01

General manufacture

LM

LM

LM

LM 02

Machinery: engines, building & general industrial [manufac]

MH

MH

High

LM 03

Electricity production & distribution [inc large transformers]

lm

MH

High

LM 04

Unknown Filled Ground (Pond, marsh, river, stream, dock etc)

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 05

Mining & quarrying general

LM

Low

LM

LM 06

Unknown Filled Ground (Pit, quarry etc)

LM

MH

LM

LM 07

Factory or works - use not specified

Medium

MH

Medium

LM 08

Transport support & cargo handling

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 09

Heap, unknown constituents

Medium

MH

High

LM 10

Pipelines [transport via]

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 11

Mining of coal & lignite

Low

Low

Medium

LM 12

Food processing - major

Low

Low

Low

LM 13

Cemetery or Graveyard

Low

Medium

Low

LM 14

Area liable to flood

Low

Low

Low

LM 15

Military Land

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 16

Brewing & malting

Low

Low

Low

LM 17

Disturbed Ground

Low

Low

Low

LM 18

Mineral railway

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 19

Former Marsh

Low

Low

Low

LM 20

Air Shafts

Low

Low

lm

LM 21

Hospitals

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 22

Outfalls

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 23

Chemical manufacturing general

MH

High

High

LM 24

Mineral products non-metallic

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 25

Laboratories

lm

MH

lm

LM 26

Metal Recycling

Medium

High

MH

LM 27

Coal storage and depot

Medium

lm

Medium

LM 29

Air & space transport

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 30

Batteries, accumulators, primary cells, electric motors, generators & transformers

High

VH

High

LM 31

Disturbed Ground >200m in one dimension -

Low

Low

Low

LM 32

Heap incl. Spoil & Slag

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 33

Manuf./repair - Ships, Aerospace, Rail Engines & Rolling Stock

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 34

Manufacture of Cars, Lorries, Buses, Motorcycles, Bicycles

Medium

Medium

MH

LM 35

Rubber natural products manufacture

Medium

Medium

MH

LM 36

Builders Yard

Lm

Lm

Lm

LM 37

Plant Nursery

Low

Low

Low

LM 38

Unknown filled ground (Railway cuttings)

Medium

Medium

Medium

LM 39

Pumping station

Low

Low

Low

LM 40

Sheep Dip

High

High

High

LM 41

Colliery Tips

MH

MH

MH

LM 50

Tank

Medium

Medium

Medium

NONE

NONE

low

Low

low

unk

unk

 

 

 

 

 

Haz Score CATs

Category

Name

Score

Low

Low risk

1

LM

Low to medium risk

2

Medium

Medium risk

3

MH

Medium to high risk

4

High

High risk

5

VH

Very high risk

6

 

Receptor Sensitivity

CURRENT_USE_ID

CURRENT_USE_NAME

COMMENTS

RECEPTOR_SENSITIVITY_CODE

CU01

Petrol filling station

 

L_HH

CU02

Industrial - general

 

L_HH

CU03

Housing with gardens

Vegetable uptake

H_HH

CU04

Commercial

 

L_HH

CU05

Disused

Closed sites

L_HH

CU06

Woodland

 

LM_HH

CU07

Right of way

 

LM_HH

CU08

Agriculture

Crops/livestock

LM_HH

CU09

Farm (outbuildings)

Outbuildings

LM_HH

CU10

Farm (residential buildings)

Farm Dwelling

H_HH

CU11

Public open space

 

LM_HH

CU12

Recreation/Commercial

Mixed recreation and commercial

LM_HH

CU13

Development Site

Any site under development

L_HH

CU14

Housing no gardens

No vegetable uptake

MH_HH

CU15

Allotment Gardens

 

VH_HH

CU16

Schools

 

M_HH

CU17

Playing fields

School playing field, Children’s play equipment

M_HH

CU18

Sporting fields

 

M_HH

CU19

Park

General Park

M_HH

CU20

Flats with gardens

Vegetable uptake

MH_HH

CU21

Flats with landscaping

No vegetable uptake

MH_HH

CU22

Recreation/sports ground

 

M_HH

CU23

Railway Land/ Dismantled Railway

 

LM_HH

CU24

Open countryside/marshland

 

L_HH

CU25

Grazing Land/General farm land

y

LM_HH

CU26

Road and associated pavement/walkway

 

L_HH

CU27

Derelict/Disused Land

 

LM_HH

CU28

Camping Ground

 

M_HH

CU29

Reservoir

 

M_HH

CU30

Shore Line/Beach

 

LM_HH

CU31

Dock/Pier

 

L_HH

CU32

Industrial/Commercial

 

L_HH

CU33

Verge

A grass border along a road

L_HH

CU34

Cemetery

 

L_HH

CU35

Trees and shrubs

 

LM_HH

CU36

Car Park

 

L_HH

CU37

Hospital/Nursing home

 

MH_HH

CU39

Electricity Sub Station

 

LM_HH

CU40

Sewage Works

 

L_HH

CU41

Airport

 

LM_HH

CU42

Mixed Use - Residential & School

 

H_HH

CU43

Court/Law Buildings

 

LM_HH

CU44

Shopping Centre with Car Park

 

L_HH

CU45

Caravan Site

 

M_HH

CU46

Church

 

L_HH

cu47

Garages

 

LM_HH

UNK

Unknown

 

N_HH

 

Receptor Scores CATs

 

CODE

NAME

RECEPTOR_TYPE

SCORE

H_GW

High - Groundwater

W

5

H_HH

High - Human Health

L

8

H_LU

High - Land Use

L

5

H_SW

High - Surface Water

W

5

L_GW

Low - Groundwater

W

1

L_HH

Low - Human Health

L

4

L_LU

Low - Land Use

L

1

L_SW

Low - Surface Water

W

1

LM_GW

Low Medium - Groundwater

W

2

LM_HH

Low Medium - Human Health

L

5

LM_LU

Low Medium - Land Use

L

2

LM_SW

Low Medium - Surface Water

W

2

M_GW

Medium - Groundwater

W

3

M_HH

Medium - Human Health

L

6

M_LU

Medium - Land Use

L

3

M_SW

Medium - Surface Water

W

3

MH_GW

Medium High - Groundwater

W

4

MH_HH

Medium High - Human Health

L

7

MH_LU

Medium High - Land Use

L

4

MH_SW

Medium High - Surface Water

W

4

N_GW

None - Groundwater

W

0

N_HH

No Human Health Protection Zones

L

0

N_LU

None - Land Use

L

0

N_SW

None - Surface Water

W

0

VH_GW

Very High - Groundwater

W

6

VH_HH

Very High - Human Health

L

9

VH_LU

Very High - Land Use

L

6

VH_SW

Very High - Surface Water

W

6

 

APPENDIX 4

CONTAMINATED LAND CONDITION

The development hereby permitted shall not be commenced until the following components of a scheme to deal with the risks associated with contamination of the site shall have been submitted to, and approved, by the local planning authority:

 

1. A preliminary risk assessment which has identified:

(i)                  all previous uses

(ii)                potential contaminants associated with those uses

(iii)              a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors

(iv)               potentially unacceptable risks arising from contamination at the site

2. Intrusive Investigation

a)            An intrusive investigation and updated risk assessment shall be undertaken by competent persons and a written report of the findings shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority prior to commencement of the development.  It shall include an assessment of the nature and extent of any contamination on the site, whether or not it originates on the site. The report of the findings shall include:

(i)            A survey of the extent, scale and nature of contamination;

(ii)           An assessment of the potential risks to:

                Human health;

                Property (existing or proposed) including buildings, crops, livestock, pets, woodland and service lines and pipes,

                Adjoining land,

                Ground waters and surface waters,

                Ecological systems,

(iii)          An appraisal of remedial options and identification of the preferred option(s).

All work pursuant to this Condition shall be conducted in accordance with the DEFRA and Environment Agency document Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination (Contamination Report 11).

b)            If investigation and risk assessment shows that remediation is necessary, a detailed remediation scheme to bring the site to a condition suitable for the intended use by removing unacceptable risks to human health, buildings and other property and the natural and historical environment shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority prior to commencement of the development. The scheme shall include details of all works to be undertaken, proposed remediation objectives and remediation criteria, a timetable of works, site management procedures and a verification plan. The scheme shall ensure that the site will not qualify as contaminated land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in relation to the intended use of the land after remediation.  The approved remediation scheme shall be carried out in accordance with the approved terms including the timetable, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Local Planning Authority shall be given two weeks written notification of commencement of the remediation scheme works.

c)            Prior to commencement of development, a verification report demonstrating completion of the works set out in the approved remediation scheme and the effectiveness of the remediation shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The report shall include results of sampling and monitoring carried out in accordance with the approved verification plan to demonstrate that the site remediation criteria have been met. It shall also include details of longer term monitoring of pollutant linkages and maintenance and arrangements for contingency action, as identified in the verification plan, and for the reporting of this to the Local Planning

 

APPENDIX 5

BEDROCK IN THANET

Visit: http://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/geologyofbritain/home.html

 

APPENDIX 6

GROUNDWATER SOURCE PROTECTION ZONES IN THANET