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
• 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
Planning Development & Control
Advice to Planning Service to
identify and manage risks to
ensure site is “suitable for use”
Land affected by
(>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
• 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
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 ?