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Remediation standards –
a step-change in expectations?
Phil Crowcroft, Chairman, SiLC PTP and Partner, ERM
Kevin Eaton, SiLC Champion and Principal, Environ
Whilst there appears more optimism that the UK economy
is coming out of recession during this period of economic
downturn, the land regeneration sector has faced some
significant challenges. As the market picks up, developers
and land owners may find that regulators are demanding
Below insertion of a
more stringent controls, particularly for remedial activities.
GasClam
®
in a borehole
In 2009, the remediation of contaminated land hit the main-
Above Right sonic drilling stream news following the judgement that Corby Borough
used to form surfactant Council had become the first local authority to be found
flushing wells
liable for negligence in the control and management of
Right tracer gas testing of remediation works. The case relates to the uncontrolled
completed gas membrane
impacts from contaminated dusts to the surrounding area

arising from remedial activities at a 257 hectare former
steelworks site in the 80’s and 90’s. In announcing his
decision, Mr Justice Akenhead concluded that the council,
“did not really appreciate the enormity, ramifications and
difficulty of what it was setting out to achieve in terms of
removing and depositing very substantial quantities of
contaminated material.”
Whilst a causal link between the contaminated dusts and
birth defects in the local population was not proven at the
hearing, the Judge gave leave to the complainants to take
individual cases forward to confirm any such link. An appeal
against the judgement has been lodged by the Council.
Further discussions are reported between the parties to
negotiate a possible settlement. Whether or not a causal
link between the contamination and the birth defects is
ever proven in court, there will remain a public perception
that exposure to contaminated soils can be dangerous, and
both direct exposure and the stress of theoretical exposure
can lead to physical health effects.
However, if regulatory authorities remain somewhat cautious
following the Corby Borough Council case, then they
should be buoyed by the recent decision of Secretary of
State to uphold the Part 2A remediation notice served on
Redland Minerals, the former owner of a chemical works;
and housebuilder Crest Nicholson, who in the 1980’s
purchased and developed the site for residential use. The
land had been polluted by bromate, which had impacted
the underlying chalk aquifer and created the largest known
ENVIRONMENT INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
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