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Westminster environment guidance - Section B

Find information on carbon and pollution reduction, as well as urban greening.

Section B - land contamination

Westminster has a long history of commercial and industrial sites.  These can leave a legacy of contaminants and pollutants that have a detrimental impact not only on the environment but also on the health of our communities who reside in, work in and visit the city.  To continue to protect our soil and watercourses and human health if contamination is suspected, and the site requires demolition or excavation the process set out below should be followed.

As a starting point if contamination is suspected, a desk study should be carried out by the developer in order to identify possible areas of contaminated land (phase 1). The results will be used to determine the necessity for any site investigation works and the scope of such works (phase 2). 

If the investigation finds no potential for land contamination, then the process ends there and no evidence is required to be included in the planning application (although it might be covered in the structural statement). Where there is evidence of contamination the validation requirement is to submit a land contamination assessment. The responsibility lies with the applicant to follow up on an investigation if land contamination is suspected. A standard condition will be applied to permissions which environmental health can discharge.

The council can carry out an environmental search on the developer’s behalf that includes historic maps and a formal letter describing the previous land uses of the site. 

Full details of the process and payment details

Further information on these requirements can be found in the council’s Contaminated Land guidance which includes the procedure for dealing with potential land contamination during the planning process and the Code of Construction Practice.

If the presence of asbestos is suspected at your site please contact the council at [email protected]


Last updated: 16 April 2021