Contaminated land and site investigation

Industrial decline in the United Kingdom has left many areas of vacant, derelict and underused land. These areas may contain substances in the ground that have the potential to cause harm to human health and the wider environment.

Environmental searches and enquiries

The Environmental Protection Service handles environmental searches and environmental enquiries relating to land contamination.

Environmental searches are often generated through the conveyancing process for residential and commercial properties. Where these searches identify an issue, they usually recommend contacting us for any further information.

Environmental enquiries usually relate to sales and acquisitions of land. 

Standard charges apply for most searches and enquiries. The cost is dependent upon the number and type of questions asked. We’ll tell you the cost once we have reviewed your enquiry.

Contact us if you want to submit an environmental search or enquiry by emailing

Dealing with affected land

In the United Kingdom there are 2 ways of dealing with land affected by the presence of contaminated land. Through the town planning development control process and the enforcement of Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Supporting information provides guidance documents for landowners and developers, setting out responsibilities and likely requirements. The regional and local guidance and policies provide information about clean cover systems (clean capping), and verification of correct installation of gas protection measures.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Environmental Protection Service is responsible for implementing Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and has a dedicated Contaminated Land Officer to undertake this role.

Part IIA requires us to inspect our area for the purpose of identifying contaminated land. In accordance with Part IIA, we produced a Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy in 2001 which has been periodically reviewed and is currently being revised.

Part IIA only deals with land which in its current use has the potential to cause 'significant harm' to human health, specified plants and animals, specified buildings and property and the water environment.

The legislation also requires that we compile and maintain a register of contaminated land. This register only includes details of land where formal action has been taken - it does not include details of every site in Sheffield.

Development on land potentially affected by contamination

Part IIA of the Environmental protection Act 1990 deals with land, which in its current use, has the potential to cause significant harm.

It is government policy that most land affected by the presence of contamination will be dealt with during the planning process. For planning purposes land contamination has a wider meaning.

For any new development the developer is responsible for identifying potential risks to future occupiers of the site, to property and to the environment.

UKRadon are the UK's primary experts on radiation protection.

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