Many areas of land have become contaminated by the residues left behind by activities such as mining, waste disposal and general industrial processes. There are believed to be between 50,000 and 100,000 potentially contaminated sites within the UK. Most of these sites do not pose any immediate hazard to human health or the environment but until the contamination is treated the land may be severely restricted in how it may be used.
The District Councils are in the process of identifying and registering contaminated land in their areas. Where the District Council has identified a piece of contaminated land it will identify who is responsibility for the contamination and agree what works they should do to prevent the contamination causing harm to health or the environment and ensure any development takes account of the contamination.
Certain types of contaminated land, where the contamination tends to be particularly severe or difficult to treat are classed as special sites, these are regulated by the Environment Agency.
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