Where substances are introduced into, or onto land where they would not normally be, then that land could be considered to be contaminated.
The term contaminated land therefore covers a wide range of situations where land is contaminated in some way. In a small number of these situations where certain criteria are met, a site might be determined contaminated land, which has a specific legal definition set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act.
Throughout the UK there are thousands of sites that have been contaminated by previous use. Often this is associated with industrial processes or activities that have now ceased, but where waste products or remaining residues present a hazard to the general environment.
There is increasing pressure to reuse land which is affected by contamination rather than develop greenfield sites such as parks or woodland.
When submitting an application for planning permission you might need to provide a Land Contamination Assessment. Find out more about applying for planning permission.