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CONTAMINATED-LAND-STRATEGIES  October 2005

CONTAMINATED-LAND-STRATEGIES October 2005

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Subject:

Re: PPS23 and Residential Developments

From:

"Lang, Henry E" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Lang, Henry E

Date:

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 10:52:25 +0100

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (108 lines) , EnviroRisk.pdf (108 lines)

Dear all

A fascinating thread when viewed from my side of the fence, especially the need for rear end covering when dealing with the planners.
The latter point is particularly relevant, in a historical context, when you look at the detail of the Sevenoaks Case [I hope Gordon Norrie doesn't mind this] where the planners and Building Control had the same report on gasses bubbling out of trial pits as the developer, but planning was still granted with no controls.
I recognise that this fairly extreme case of building on infilled clay pits would be unlikely to be missed today, but without desk studies, who knows what may be missed, and the Legals would have a field day in buck passing, so keep covering your rears.

A proper Desk Study may cost about £1500 or more with a walk over, but if dealing with a real cheapskate developer or a large portfolio of sites, a decent review of historical info [quick plug for our Envirorisk product here, see attached] need only cost about £200 as a start point. That can at least form the basis for a considered decision that no more work is needed and will cover you wonderfully when safely filed.

I think most consultants are with you guys on this as we want to drive the quality and demand up, just as is happening in the USA with the new All Appropriate Inquiry [AAI] rule and the changes to ASTMN 1527/05 which is hitting the cowboy consultants hard. I think that we are therefore pulling in the same direction, but I recognise that some clients [especially at what we might call the lower end of the spectrum] wont spend a groat [shows my age] if they can dodge around it.
Others can help our push, ie the legal team of any potential purchaser should push for a desk study under the Law Society Warning Card scheme which leaves Lawyers liable if the don't check environmental matters for a transaction, and also NHBC who also require Phase 1's.

More power to your budgets. Lets suggest a small brownfield windfall tax/ local rate to help pay for more resources so we can all get on with looking at some of those  nice dirty prioritised sites out there.

Best regards [old fashioned I know but I leave txt spk to the new genetically modified generation]

Henry

Henry E Lang
Director - Land Quality
Waterman Environmental
Tel 0207 928 7888
Mob 07796 990667
email  [log in to unmask]
Kircaldy House, 99 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0JF

-----Original Message-----
From: Contaminated Land Management Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jonathan Parr
Sent: 21 October 2005 08:49
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: PPS23 and Residential Developments

For what its worth (not much I know!); here is my two-penneth!

I must admit to being in agreement with Nick and Chris; we are told how to
assess things in Policy and Guidance.  As Nick said if this isn't what the
Government wanted then they would have said something different. 

I also thing that the most important thing that has been overlooked is the
liability issues!  At the end of the day we are only advisors to DC and have
no influence with them;  as is attested by many CLO's across the Country!!!
However do not think that your friendly Planner will be the first to try and
pass the buck onto someone else if it goes wrong; that someone else being
the CLO!!!

As a more pragmatic approach I assess the Planning week each list; and taken
into account site use, previous site use and underlying soil/geology, I
advise Planning what I think is required.  If they choose to ignore this
then it's not my problem; the likelihood is that there is no issue's with
the site; however who wants to be the CLO who missed something when it all
blows up because they decided to not follow UK Planning Policy and use an
arbitrary approach to determining which sites do or don't need planning
conditions or advice notes?!  Which is the reason I document everything I
say to Planning and save every email I send; because i'm not being blamed
for their mistakes!!

Yes, we need to educate not only our Planners, but also our Upper Echelons
of the Council as well as Members; I don't want to have to do it all after
something has gone wrong and people's dreams/lives/life has been destroyed
because I decided to not follow the Policy we have been given.  

Lets put it another way; when doing a DQRA and you need the tox data for a
substance; who doesn't follow the Policy as outlined in CLR9?  So why treat
this any different?  The Policy is there to protect not only the people who
live in the end development, but also us from potential liabilities.

Anyway; as far as I am concerned the Policy and Guidance are there to be
followed; and follow them I will.  Maybe it lacks creative thought and
thinking; but then I don't actually see that as being a necessary part of
advising Planning!!

I know us CLO's in Lancashire have had a discussion regarding
extensions/conservatories, and this is a difficult issue that needs to be
addressed; I mean nothing was done to the houses to protect them from
contamination when originally built and there has been no issue's since, so
why bother with an extension?  But then disturbing the ground with an
excavation/construction, however small, could introduce that pathway that
leads to dire consequences? 

To me Land Contamination is thinking the worse and then proving its not
there; but then maybe that is because I am a pessimist!  This is how I work
and base my decision's; as I'm buggered if I want to be the one standing up
in Court defending my pragmatic approach when there is a Policy context out
there to follow; when someone's got skin lesions from Arsenic exposure from
their garden after a conservatory was built that disturbed the ground!
Because I know it wouldn't last two minutes and I would be the one who got
blamed!

Jon
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