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CONTAMINATED-LAND-STRATEGIES  July 2008

CONTAMINATED-LAND-STRATEGIES July 2008

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Subject:

Planning Conditions

From:

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Date:

Tue, 22 Jul 2008 14:58:19 +0100

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Dear Subscribers,

Following previous debate on the Model Planning Conditions which was very
helpful, I am now faced with a dilemma over the advice I provide to
Planning for single dwellings on sites with no previous history of
potentially contaminative activity.  I tried to convince Planning that the
applicant should submit basic Desk Study information to account for the
time lapsed since the last published map and to set the site in its
contemporary setting.  I justified this with paragraph 2.27 of Annex 2 of
PPS23 which states that on a precautionary basis the possibility of
contamination should be assumed where considered uses are particularly
sensitive to contamination e.g. housing etc.  I also quoted paragraph 2.42
requiring the applicant to submit information to determine whether an
application can proceed due to the proposed use being particularly
vulnerable.  Planning came back with the argument that PPS23 paragraph 6
states "the precautionary principle should only be invoked when there is
good reason to believe that harmful effects may occur to human, animal or
plant health, or to the environment."

Thus, if this is how we are to interpret the precautionary principle as
detailed in Annex 2, it appears that Planning are right and it is
acceptable for us to only consult the in-house records and if no
contamination is suspected we can't justify conditioning the application
for a contaminated land survey.  On top of this, Planning believe that
there is currently a legal appeal at the High Court based on abuse of the
precautionary principle but unfortunately they haven't managed to find the
details yet.  Can anyone shed any light on this?

Kind regards,

Tracy Hilton
Contaminated Land Officer
Tel 01287 612420

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