Contaminated Land: Cleaning up the Statutory Guidance in England

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Revised Statutory Guidance in relation to the contaminated land regime, and regulations amending the definition of when land will be considered to be contaminated, came into force on 6 April 2012. There are two significant changes:

1. Changes to the Definition of Contaminated Land

Under current law and guidance, land is "contaminated" and at risk of regulatory enforced clean up if:

- Significant harm is being caused to human health or the environment or there is a significant possibility of significant harm ("SPOSH") being caused to human health or the environment;

or

- Pollution of controlled waters is being or is likely to be caused.

So, technically, it is possible to argue that any water pollution is sufficient to satisfy the second limb of the definition of contaminated land. This limb has been amended to bring it in line with the first limb, so that it refers to significant pollution of controlled waters and significant possibility of significant pollution of controlled waters - thus introducing a higher threshold test...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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