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Land Pollution and the Law

Because the law makes appropriate persons clean up pollution on land where it is causing significant harm or water pollution, where former industrial land changes hands or is re-developed, it is quite common for the question of pollution to be addressed. The law assists with this by offering incentives to deal with the problem. For example:

  • If one appropriate person offers money to another to pay for the clean-up of the land, then assuming that the money is sufficient to deal with the problem then the person paying the money over will escape any liability in the future
  • If a company selling land informs the person buying it of the presence of the polluting substances and/or allows these to be inspected then that company will be free from future liability for cleaning up the land.

By using these sorts of incentives the law is trying to get parties to consider how to deal with historic pollution especially where land is changing hands. In addition to this, the planning system makes provision for ensuring that land based pollution is addressed in the course of land re-development.


Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

DEFRA: Contaminated Land Statutory Guidance (April 2012)

The Contaminated Land (England) Regulations 2006

The Contaminated Land (Wales) Regulations 2006

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