Contaminated Land

Land affected by Contamination

The contamination of land has been occurring for many years and can result from man-made activities and natural processes. 

In the past, Richmondshire has been home to numerous industrial processes including lead mining, gas works, and landfill sites, all of which have left their mark on the environment.

There are 2 main routes by which contamination is looked at:

1. As part of new developments;
2. As historic sites

1. New Developments

Land contamination is an important consideration for new developments. Any site has the potential to be contaminated, generally from past use, but in some cases from naturally occurring contaminants. Therefore, all planning applications have to be considered for potential contamination issues.

Richmondshire District Council, as the local planning authority, will initially require the developer to assess the potential for contamination on a site by means of a preliminary risk assessment. If the assessment indicates that the site requires planning conditions relating to land contamination, these may be added if planning permission is granted. Alternatively a developer may need to assess potential contamination issues on a site prior to seeking planning approval.

The Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Pollution Advisory Group (YALPAG) (previously Yorkshire and Humberside Pollution Advisory Council- YAHPAC) have produced guidance (below) to help developers submit the correct information when developingland. You should take care in completing the 'Existing Use' section of your planning application and refer to the guidance to assist you. The guidance advises that wherever a development involves the introductionof vulnerable end users, even if contamination is not suspected, that a risk assessment should be undertaken.

Development on Land Affected by Contamination

If you are developing an individual residential property (i.e. one house in a garden) the Screening Assessment Form (below) can be used as a basic preliminary risk assessment. It is not suitable for larger housing developments, allotments, schools, nurseries, children’s play areas, or if there has been a past industrial use on or adjacent to the land. In these cases, a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment would be required in the first instance.

Screening Assessment Form

Further Detailed Information for Developers, Landowners and Consultants:

The Environment Agency website hosts various guidance documents and information on land contamination including CLR11 Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination.

Additional YALPAG guidance documents are available:

Verification Requirements for Cover Systems
Verification requirements for Gas Protection Systems

Planning Conditions

The Council generally uses a standard condition to ensure the investigation and, where necessary, remediation of land. 

The condition states:

"No development shall be commenced until an assessment of the risks posed by contamination, carried out in line with the Environment Agency's Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination CLR11, has been submitted to and approved by the local planning authority. If deemed necessary, a scheme for the remediation of any contamination shall be submitted and approved by the local planning authority before any development occurs. The development shall not be occupied until the approved remediation scheme has been implemented and a verification report detailing all works carried out has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority."

In addition, a condition may also be added which requires the developer to report to the Council any unexpected contamination found during the course of a development and to submit proposals for the safe remediation of the contamination. The condition may be added even though the PALC form does not highlight any potential areas of concern, especially if the development has a sensitive end use.

Please note
It is the developer's responsibility to ensure that the land is suitable for use. Only when the Council is satisfied that the land is suitable for the proposed use will the conditions be discharged.

2. Historic Sites

Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was introduced as part of the government's policy of sustainable development to deal with the UK's substantial legacy of land contamination, both man-made and natural.

It aims to ensure that land is suitable for its current use and poses no unacceptable risk to human health or controlled waters; it also considers potential risk to the wider environment.

Local Authorities are the lead regulators of contaminated land and have the duty of identifying areas of contaminated land within their area and where necessary ensuring remediation is carried out. As part of this, each local authority has produced a strategy of how they plan to carry out these duties. The Council's Contaminated Land Strategy was approved by the Licensing Committee in September 2013 and can be viewed here pdfContaminated Land Strategy

The work is ongoing.


Public Register

To date no sites in Richmondhsire have been classified by the Council as "contaminated land" as defined by the provisions of Part 2A of the Environment Protection Act 1990.

Therefore currently there are no entries on the public register which is held by Environmental Health and can be viewed during normal office hours by appointment.

Domestic Oil Tanks

Contamination of soil and groundwater may occur if your heating oil storage tank leaks or if there is a spillage during refuelling operations. The Council has produced a leaflet to help you prevent pollution and advises what to do if a spillage or leak occurs.

Domestic Oil Tanks - A Guide to Preventing Pollution


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Environmental Health on telephone 01748 829100 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact Us

Richmondshire District Council
Mercury House
Station Road
North Yorkshire
DL10 4JX

Phone: 01748 829100
Fax: 01748 826186
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.