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Contaminated land

In England, contaminated land has the following legal definition:

'Any land which appears to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land that:

a) Significant harm is being caused or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused; (to human health, the built or the natural environment)
b) Significant pollution of controlled waters is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of significant pollution being caused.'

What we do

The Council:

  1. Provides guidance to the Planning Control Service in relation to the development of brownfield land or land affected by contamination through the planning process.
  2. Provides information on land potentially affected by contamination within North Hertfordshire in response to property based contaminated land enquiries.
  3. Implements the Council’s Contaminated Land Strategy in line with its statutory duties under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part 2A), local authorities have a duty to investigate areas that are potentially contaminated. Local authorities are the primary enforcing agency of Part 2A but work closely with the Environment Agency in fulfilling this role. This is particularly in cases where controlled waters, such as rivers or aquifers, may be at risk from contamination.

Under Part 2A the principle duties of North Hertfordshire District Council are:

  • To maintain a public register (the Contaminated Land Register) containing prescribed particulars of Remediation Notices served by NHDC, appeals against any such Remediation Notices and Remediation Statements and Remediation Declarations. For further information about the register please contact the Environmental Protection and Housing Team.
  • To inspect the District in a rational, ordered and efficient manner; in order to identify contaminated land.
  • To determine if any inspected areas are significantly contaminated according to the detailed specifications within Part 2A and its associated legislation and guidance.
  • To find the person(s) responsible for the contaminated land.
  • To try to get the person(s) responsible to voluntarily remediate the contaminated land so that it is safe and fit for its current use.
  • Where voluntary remediation cannot be agreed, to take legal action to force the person(s) responsible to remediate the contaminated land.

Contaminated land register

Contaminated land strategy

In line with statutory guidance from the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, we have published a Contaminated Land Strategy. It explains how we are dealing with potentially contaminated land within the District.


We can provide information on a property or parcel of land, such as its use history and whether it is affected by contamination, to anyone with a specific interest such as house buyers, vendors or solicitors.

This information is drawn from a number of sources within the team's records.

These enquiries are different from the standard enquiries that can be made by undertaking a Local Land Charges search which are restricted to three very specific questions relating to the Contaminated Land Register.

You will need to provide:

  • the address of the property, or land, with a postcode and if possible a plan confirming its location
  • the nature of your interest in the land
  • any specific issues that have prompted the enquiry or another indication of type of information that is required.

The provision of information about land affected by contamination is controlled by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004), as specified within the Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

How to pay

In line with the provisions of the EIR 2004, we charge for providing such information. This charge is currently set at £95 but is reviewed annually.

Please make a payment using a credit or debit card and search for 'Contaminated Land Enq' in the 'All Shops' drop down menu.

If you have no alternative but to pay by cheque please make it payable to North Hertfordshire District Council and send it to the below address marked for the attention of the Environmental Protection Officer.

Enquiries are routinely answered within 10 working days, subject to the complexity of the enquiry.

In the event that any information request is considered atypical, the person making the enquiry will be informed of this fact and appropriate arrangements will be made to progress the enquiry through the Freedom Of Information system.

Environmental Health
North Hertfordshire District Council
PO Box 10613