How might a contaminated land regime work in N. Ireland? Dr Theresa Kearney Land and Resource Management Unit today … • Drivers for dealing with land affected by contamination in NI • Role of Planning in risk management of land contamination • How might a Contaminated Land regime under Part 3 work in NI? • Way Forward Remediation of Contaminated Land Part 3 of WCLO ’97 (pending) Identify and remove risks & return damaged land to beneficial use (where there is no change in landuse) Planning Development & Control Advice to Planning Service to identify and manage risks to ensure site is “suitable for use” Land affected by Contamination (>14,000 potentially contaminated sites on NIEA database) Voluntary remediation Advice to managing risks and remediation of strategically important sites Environmental Liability Directive Regulate where land damage results in significant risk of adverse effects on health Planning Process – risk management • Evidence based decision making • Site specific decisions • Information needed to: – inform uncertainties – support decisions – add confidence to decisions and management of risks • Actions need to ensure site is “suitable for use” – As a minimum, developed land should not be capable of being determined as contaminated land under Part 3 of the Waste and Contaminated Land (NI) Order 1997 Impacts of not managing risks … • • • • • Unacceptable risks identified; Loss of confidence by occupiers; Inadequate understanding of potential risks; Remediation of original contamination; Action required if previous measures have been ineffective; • Appropriate persons including developer may still be liable Role of a Contaminated Land Regime • Protection of human health and the environment; • Polluter pays principle; • Important in underpinning the wider market based approach for dealing with land contamination; • Encourages land contamination to be dealt with ahead of regulatory intervention An NI Contaminated Land regime – how might it work? • If and when implemented, it is likely to operate along similar lines to Part 2A; • Differences – Border with another European MS – Planning function • Department completed an assessment of resources to implement Part 3 in 2006 Assessment to implement Part 3 • Full extent of contaminated land will not be clear until the regime is in operation; • Revenue and Capital funds required – latter allocated on a priority basis; • Maintain parity with GB regimes – RPA creates additional difficulties in terms of timing, administrative structures and geographical boundaries Options considered • Do Nothing – is a regime needed? • Defer decision on implementation • Implement the Part 3 Regime in 2009/10 – Issues • Level of funding secured less than that needed • EHG and Council Structures • Timing Way Forward • As yet no agreed timetable for implementing a contaminated land regime in N.I. • To do so would require: – Securing new resources to support the regulatory role of Councils and the NIEA – Revisions of the Statutory Guidance – Commencement Order • EU driver ?