Contaminated Land


Guidance on Contaminated Land Issues

A list of publications is also available on the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs Link to External Website website.

When using guidance reference must be made to the relevant section. It is not sufficient to reference an approach as being in line with a document as a whole.

A wide range of best practice guidance is available produced by various organisations. While certainly not exhaustive the following list identifies some of the key sources of guidance that you may need to refer to:

Council Guidance

Various guidance is available from the Council for contamination issues and is available on the relevant web page. By clicking on the areas of guidance that you are interested in you will be taken to the appropriate web page of this site.

Environment Agency (EA) Guidance:

The EA continuing to produce a wide range of technical guidance covering all aspects of contaminated land investigation, assessment, remediation and development. The EA are responsible for producing:

  • CLEA documentation (CLR7-10, TOX and SGV reports)
  • Research and Development Technical Reports P5-066/TR and P5/065/TR relating to Technical Aspects of site investigation and Procedures for soil sampling strategies
  • Research and Development Publication 20 - Method for the Derivation of Remedial Targets for Soil and Groundwater to Protect Water Resources
  • Environment Agency technical advice to third parties on pollution of controlled waters for Part IIA of the EPA1990 (also relevant to planning)
  • R&D Publication 66 - Guidance for the Safe Development of Housing on Land Affected by Contamination
  • Review of Waste Management Papers (such as 27, etc.)
  • Groundwater Vulnerability Maps, etc.
  • Other guidance on development of conceptual models, use of risk assessment models, reinstatement of boreholes, etc.

The EA will also be able to provide site specific guidance in relation to groundwater, surface waters, extractions, discharges, industrial authorisations, waste management licensing sites, investigation, site based risk assessment, etc.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA):

While recently the production of guidance has been devolved to the EA, relevant documentation produced by DEFRA includes:

  • CLR Publications 1-6 covering issues such as the assessment of the impact of contaminated land on groundwater, preliminary site inspections, research on industrial sites, sampling strategies, information systems and prioritisation
  • Various Waste Management Papers
  • Interdepartmental Committee on the Redevelopment of Contaminated Land documentation (while most values once commonly used from ICRCL documentation are now withdrawn, is documentation still contain useful information on various land uses)
  • Legislation (i.e. Town & Country Planning Act’s and Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, The Environment Act 1995, The Contaminated Land (England) Regulations (2000), Water Resources Act 1991, etc.
  • Statutory Guidance including Planning Policy Guidance Notes and DETR Circular 02/2000 for Part IIA
  • Industry profiles

British Standards:

Various British Standards have been produced for investigation, analysis and reporting including:

  • BS 10175:2001 Investigation of potentially contaminated sites - Code of practice.
  • BS 5930 Code of practice for site investigation
  • ISO standards for analysis and sampling(such as 13530, 10381 series 1-4, 14507, 1689, etc

Construction Industry Research and Information Association:

Various industry best practice guidance including:

  • Volumes I-XII relating to site investigation and remediation
  • Reports 130-131 and 149-152 relating to landfill gas issues
  • SP124 Barriers Liners and Cover Systems

Building Research Establishment:


  • BRE Report BRE291 - Bibliography of Case Studies on Contaminated land: investigation, remediation and redevelopment
  • BRE Report BRE255 - Performance of Building Materials on in Contaminated Land
  • BRE Information Paper - IP2/87

Health and Safety Executive:

Various publications relating to health and safety and contaminated land.

British Geological Survey:

Various publication, in particular geological mapping and associated regional memoirs and other information.

Private/Foreign Guidance:

There is also much privately written and produced literature, both UK and foreign based, as well as much foreign public guidance/legislation that may be relevant to the UK situation.

Note of Caution

Guidance is continually under development. This list is not exhaustive and the Council may not, therefore, be held responsible for the use, or failure to use appropriate guidance, whether it is listed above or not.