ADLib Glossary (C)

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Contaminated land

Where substances are introduced into or onto the land where they would not normally be, then that land could be considered to be contaminated.  The term land contamination therefore covers a wide range of situations where land is contaminated in some way.  In a small number of these situations where certain criteria are met, a site might be determined contaminated land which has a specific legal definition set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act.

Throughout the UK there are thousands of sites that have been contaminated by previous use.  Often this is associated with industrial processes or activities that have now ceased, but where waste products or remaining residues present a hazard to the general environment.  There is increasing pressure to reuse land which is affected by contaminated rather than develop greenfield sites such as parks or woodland.

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