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Contaminated land

Land contamination is where the actual or suspected presence of substances in, on or under the land may cause risks to people, human activities or the environment. Potential contamination is a material consideration and must be considered when dealing with any planning application.

If a development site has had any previous industrial uses or has been used for the disposal or treatment of wastes, there is a potential for contamination. Typical causes of land contamination include previous industrial or commercial usage, mining and waste landfill. Land can also become contaminated due to its proximity to contaminated areas.

Due to its industrial history, Burnley has a high percentage of land that could potentially be contaminated. The Government's Planning Policy on Contaminated Land, set out in paragraphs 120 and 121 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2012: Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change, requires planning authorities to ensure a site is suitable for a new use and not capable of being classed as contaminated land after remediation.

However, it is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that a development is safe and 'suitable for use' for its proposed purpose. They are responsible for:

  • deciding whether any proposed development will be affected by contamination

  • whether any development may increase the potential for contamination

  • satisfying Planning that any contamination can be successfully remediated with minimal adverse effect.

Before an application is made to develop potentially contaminated land, developers are advised to contact the Council for a pre-application discussion, to help identify the likelihood, extent and nature of contamination and its implications for development. To arrange such a pre-meeting, please contact us via email.

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