How is Pembrokeshire County Council tackling land contamination?
The Pollution Control Team undertake the statutory duty under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 but also a significant volume of the work involves dealing with land contamination through the planning process along with answering solicitor and consultant queries.
The Council has produced a detailing how it will deal with land in the district that may be contaminated. The strategy has been produced under a statutory duty arising from Part 2A of the EPA 1990. The revised version of the strategy was published in August 2016. This is the third revision having first been published in 2003 and then in 2010. The 2016 strategy reflects the updates in the Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance issued by Welsh Government in 2012. The Statutory Guidance says that the inspection should be "rational, ordered and efficient" and ensure that the more pressing and serious problems are located first.
The Strategy explains the steps that will be taken by the Council to identify any contaminated land. These will include identifying potential sources of contamination; locating sensitive receptors, either human or environmental, and assessing whether there is, or is likely to be, a significant risk of harm. Pembrokeshire County Council is using a staged approach to the identification and assessment of contaminated land.
The Strategy will be reviewed periodically to determine how the work is progressing in line with the proposed timescales. This will take into account any new guidance that has been produced to ensure that the strategy is in line with current best practice.
In addition to the proactive requirements contained within Part 2A of the EPA 1990 new development on 'brownfield' sites have resulted in land contamination being remediated through the development control process. The Pollution Control Team plays a major role in assuring the safe development of land affected by contamination, working closely with planners, consultants and developers to ensure that the land is made 'suitable for use'.
The Wales Local Government Association and Natural Resources Wales has produced guidance for owners, environmental consultants and developers on the assessment and management of land that may be affected by contamination. It is recommended that developers should have reference to this guidance note to ensure that the land is adequately investigated. This guidance is to inform on the type of information required by the Local Planning Authority in order for them to assess an application for planning permission on brownfield sites.