Defra have recently published guidance aimed at assisting landowners and developers when assessing and managing risk from contamination. Under current environmental legislation, property owners and occupiers can be made liable for the cost of cleaning up environmental damage or contamination, either because they caused the presence of contaminants on the land (i.e. they are the original polluters), or simply because they are the current owners or occupiers of contaminated land. In addition, if land is contaminated, it will affect the value of the land, and the ability to develop it.
You should use this guidance if you’re developing land, including getting planning permission, or preventing or managing contamination on your land voluntarily or because you have to by law, or if making decisions about potential problems on one or more sites on behalf of someone else.