Contamination Act puts pressure on councils

COUNCIL lawyers are being urged to act quickly to prepare a comprehensive register of contaminated sites within their boundaries to avoid the threat of judicial reviews.

According to Berrymans' planning specialist, Steven Francis, the government's planned new contaminated land regime will impose a great burden on local authorities.

The Department of the Environment has issued a draft of the statutory guidance needed to implement the provisions of the 1995 Environment Act relating to contaminated land.

The new regime will require councils to set up a register which identifies contaminated land and the people or organisations liable for the remedial work required to make it safe.

Francis expects that green pressure groups will be watching local councils very closely to ensure they meet the act's requirements. He said: "Local authorities need to prepare a system for detailing what land in their areas is contaminated."