How to carry out a contaminated land assessment as part of a planning application
Dealing with land contamination
Most development takes place on land that has already had one use. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government's policy on dealing with land contamination through the planning process. The NPPF states that:
- a development site should be suitable for its new use
- responsibility for securing a safe development rests with the developer and/or landowner
When considering an application for planning consent, the planning authority will take into account ground conditions and proposals for mitigation. In order to do this, you must submit adequate site investigation information prepared by a competent person in support of the application.
We recommend early discussions with us to help you provide the information needed to support your planning application. If you don't have the expertise to submit the information, you may need to hire an environmental consultant.
Submitting a planning application
Within the existing use section of your planning application, you'll be asked if:
- the land is known to be contaminated
- contamination is suspected for all or part of the site, or
- the proposed use is particularly vulnerable to contamination
For any sites that have had a use that could cause contamination we'll need additional information with your planning application. Please see our tables for what we require.
|Type of development||Submit with your planning application|
|New build||Desk study and preliminary risk assessment report|
|Site with previous agricultural use||Screening assessment form|
If the proposed use is particularly vulnerable to the presence of contamination, you'll need to submit the following with your application:
|Type of sensitive development||Submit with your planning application|
|Residential development of 10 or more houses (including nursing homes)||Desk study and preliminary risk assessment report|
|Residential development of 1-9 houses||Screening assessment form|
|Allotments||Screening assessment form|
|School||Screening assessment form|
Information and application forms
The development of land affected by contamination technical guidance booklet is a helpful source of advice. It sets out in more detail what we would expect to be submitted when potentially contaminated land is going through the planning process. This technical guidance is also useful when discharging conditions on potentially contaminated land.
You can also read our land contamination investigations leaflet, and download the: