Contaminated land new developments
Coventry's industrial heritage means that there may be land in the city that is potentially contaminated. Environmental Protection are responsible for ensuring that anyone applying for planning permission to develop a site has considered and fully addressed contamination.
Why consider contaminated land for planning applications?
We have responsibility for determining planning applications, including applying and enforcing conditions which may require land to be remediated to an appropriate standard, taking account of its intended use so it does not pose a risk to human health.
When is it necessary to submit reports?
It is necessary to consider the need for reports where the current circumstances or past uses suggest that contamination may be present or if the land on which the development is to be located has been used for a potentially contaminative use.
Additionally, if the area surrounding the development site (usually within 250 metres) has been used for or is currently used by a potentially contaminative land use it may also be necessary to submit reports.
If the site is located on or if there are any areas of made ground within 250 metres of the development site it may be necessary to submit a report which includes proposals for gas monitoring.
Environmental protection's requirements
The applicant needs to satisfy the Local Planning Authority that unacceptable risk from contamination will be successfully addressed through remediation without undue environmental impact.
The developer will need to carry out an investigation to determine:
- Whether there are any present pollutant linkages
- Whether the proposed development will create new linkages
- What action is needed 'to break those linkages and avoid new ones, deal with any unacceptable risks and enable safe development and future occupancy of the site and neighbouring land'.
The Environmental Protection Section has a number of requirements for the information that must be contained in reports submitted in support of planning applications.
How does environmental protection assess a report?
The report will normally be passed to the Environmental Protection team from the planning department. The information contained in the reports will be compared against our requirements for the information required to be contained in reports in support of planning applications which is outlined in our guidance document 'The Development of Brownfield Sites. Reports in Support of Planning Applications'. If the report does not contain all of the information that is outlined in this leaflet, the Council will not consider the report until the omitted information has been submitted to the Council. If any additional information or clarification of any matter is required it may be requested at this stage.
The Council will assess the report to make sure investigations have been carried out in line with relevant guidance/policy documents and the investigations have been carried out in a thorough way. The Council will consider such things as justification for methodologies and clear explanations of procedures, outcomes and recommendations.
If information submitted is considered acceptable and the information demonstrates that there are potential contamination issues on the site, Environmental Protection will normally recommend that planning conditions are imposed to remediate the contamination at the development phase, if planning consent is given. This ensures that the applicant carries out any remediation and validation as required.
Risk assessment and our requirements
Risk assessment is a key part of a site investigation to assess if a site is suitable for use in terms of planning consent, or has potential to cause harm to people or the environment.
Planning policy statement 23 (PPS23) - planning and pollution control
PPS 23 has replaced PPG23 (Planning Policy Guidance 23). Planning Policy Statements (PPS) set out the Government's core policies and principles on the most important aspects of land use planning. Annex 2: Development on Land Affected by Contamination should be taken into account by local planning authorities when determining planning applications.
PPS 23 explains the legislative background to the consideration of development on land affected by contamination. It also explains the relationship of the contaminated land regime under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to the planning system. The aim is to ensure that planners, developers and their advisers address land contamination issues at the appropriate stage and consistently with the arrangements under Part IIA.
PPS23 outlines how 'the local planning authority should satisfy itself that existing significant pollutant linkages will be broken'......' and that the development will not create new pollutant linkages by changing or creating exposure pathways'.
PPS23 advises that:
- Any consideration of the quality of land and potential impacts arising from development, possibly leading to impacts on health, is capable of being a material planning consideration, in so far as it arises or may arise from or may affect any land use.
- The presence of contamination in land can present risks to human health and the environment, which adversely affect or restrict the beneficial use of land but development presents an opportunity to deal with these risks successfully.
- Contamination is not restricted to land with previous industrial uses. It can occur on greenfield as well as previously developed land and it can arise from natural sources as well as from human activities.
- Where pollution issues are likely to arise, intending developers should hold informal pre-application discussions with the local planning authority, the relevant pollution control authority and/or the environmental health departments of local authorities (LAs), and other authorities and stakeholders with a legitimate interest.
Visit Coventry's Planning Portal for information about the latest applications that have been submitted to Coventry City Council - here you can search for current planning applications and find records dating from 1948 as well as other related information. You can also find information about the planning committee's agendas, minutes, reports and future meetings.