Policy and Regulation:- United Kingdom Wider impacts / sustainability 

1. Policy and Regulation
1.1 Policy
Contaminated land presents a number of threats to sustainable development as;   
•	It impedes social progress, depriving local people of a clean and healthy environment;   
•	It threatens wider damage to the environment and to wildlife;   
•	It inhibits the prudent use of land and soil resources, particularly by obstructing the recycling of previously developed land and increasing development 
pressures on greenfield areas; and • The cost of remediation represents a high burden on individual companies, home- and other land owners, and the economy as a whole. In this context, the Government’s objectives with respect to land contamination are to: • Identify and remove unacceptable risks to human health and the environment; • Seek to bring damaged land back into beneficial use; and • Seek to ensure that the cost burdens faced by individuals, companies and society as a whole are proportionate, manageable and economically sustainable.
• These three objectives underlie the “suitable for use” approach when remediating contaminated land, which the Government considers is the most appropriate
approach to achieving sustainable development in this field. However, remediation activities cannot be assumed to be sustainable development just by virtue of the fact that they might return land to use or provide a
means of managing any identified risks. Responses to environmental damage, such as land remediation, must be proportionate, for example in terms of their
cost and their impact on the community, the economy and the wider environment. Achieving sustainable development when remediating contaminated sites depends
upon a host of environmental, social and economic factors at local and regional levels The environmental burdens of remediation activities should be proportionate, manageable and environmentally sustainable. Different routes to the removal
or reduction of the risks and re-use of damaged land might vary in their wider effects on the environment. A balanced approach is necessary that considers social
and economic as well as environmental impacts.  
1.2 Regulation
The environmental impacts of remediation processes are governed by   
•	Process / site licensing (England -  Waste Management Licensing Regulations)– Responsible authorities are: Environment Agency (England and Wales), 
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) in Northern Ireland which will control process emissions
and wastes and their management. Disposal to landfill or incineration is regulated by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regime • Planning constraints – set by local authorities, which may be wide ranging in their scope, for example limiting noise, hours of working, waste management,
and visual impacts • Health and Safety Legislation. There are no specific regulations enforcing the control of economic or social effects. However, costs of remediation are expected to be proportionate under
Part IIA (it's in the regs, Government Circular 02/2000 Environmental Protection Act 1990: Part IIA Contaminated Land) to its expected benefits. Good practice
guidance promotes the use of cost benefit analysis and the adoption of stakeholder consultation in decision making. One of the key methods of promoting sustainable development is through the Planning Process. In the UK new development or a significant change of the use of
the land generally requires Planning Permission. Land contamination (or the potential for it) is a material planning consideration. This means the planning
authority has to take account of it when making decisions and granting planning permissions (see PPG23 - Planning and Pollution Control, note this will be superceded
very soon by PPS23 - see http://www.odpm.gov.uk for details). Planning Authorities are required to produce local plans for their area. These will identify preferred redevelopment land which may include sites requiring
some form of remediation. By identifying such area, the local authority can match future land use to the level of risk posed by an area of contamination. A sustainable
solution may be to limit the re-use of contaminated land to an activity that is less sensitive to the contamination, therefore requiring less remediation,
freeing resources for more sensitive sites and limiting wider impacts of remediation such as fugitive releases of VOC's or the use of valuable void space in
landfill. The Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination, published by the Environment Agency of England and Wales set out good practice, and can be
used across the UK. The Model Procedures suggest that remediation may have wider benefits, such as enhancing the amenity or ecological value of an area or contributing
towards improved economic activity by removing blight or encouraging regeneration. The Model Procedures also require that the sustainability of a remediation / risk management strategy is considered (i.e., how well it meets other environmental
objectives, for example on the use of energy and other material resources, and avoids or minimises adverse environmental impacts in off-site locations, such
as a landfill, or on other environmental compartments, such as air and water). Hence, from the point of view of the three elements of sustainable development, economic, environmental and social can be considered by: • Looking at the wider environmental effects of a remediation project (Environment Agency Report P238) • Cost benefit appraisal • Comprehensive stakeholder consultation.  
2. Authors
 
    
  
    

Further Description
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