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Request a contaminated land search

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What is contaminated land?

Land is legally defined as 'contaminated land' where substances are causing or could cause:

  • significant harm to people, property or protected species
  • significant pollution of surface waters (for example lakes and rivers) or groundwater
  • harm to people as a result of radioactivity

Land may become contaminated when substances have found their way on or into the ground. Land can be contaminated by things like:

  • heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium and lead
  • oils and tars
  • chemical substances and preparations, like solvents
  • gases
  • asbestos
  • radioactive substances

Further information and guidance

Making or requesting a contaminated land enquiry

We can help you find out if land is contaminated through a detailed contaminated land search request.

Fees

The fee for the first hour of a contaminated land enquiry is £86.

Every hour after that is £82 per hour.

Making your enquiry

Your request must allow a minimum of three working weeks for us to respond because it may involve a search through historic data, previous investigations and liaison with external agencies.

These requests must be:

  • made in writing
  • accompanied by a local map clearly marking the boundary of the land
  • reasonable and specific in the questions asked, for example, "is the council aware of any land within 250 metres of the site which has been used for waste disposal to landfill?"

Our response will be based on the information available from sources.

In all cases, please seek advice from your solicitor and/or an appropriately qualified and competent contaminated land expert, especially if any doubt exists related to ground contamination.

Other sources for contaminated land information

  • planning services: you may wish to contact planning services for information related to contaminated land conditions attached to a planning approval and status of those conditions. For more information, call: 01483 505050

Requesting a contaminated land enquiry

If you would like to request information about land within our borough, please send the request in writing, accompanied by a local map marking the boundary. Please be specific in your questions.

Send your request to:

Health and Community Care Services
Guildford Borough Council
Millmead House
Millmead
Guildford GU2 4BB
Fax: 01483 444546


For more information call 01483 505050 or email regulatoryservices@guildford.gov.uk

Planning and development - contaminated land

Contaminated land and planning

Most contamination in our borough is dealt with through the planning process. The role of the planning department is to ensure a site is suitable for its new use. The National Planning Policy Framework sets the framework for contaminated land investigation and remediation of proposed redevelopment sites. This is to ensure: the risk to the future users is removed, and the land should not be able to be determined as contaminated under the Part IIA of the EPA1990 (NPPF paragraphs 120 and 121).

Development on contaminated land

We encourage sustainable use of land to reduce the pressure to build on "greenfield land", this is land that is undeveloped in a rural area. Redeveloping "brownfield" sites, these are sites where they have been previously developed and are not in use so may be contaminated, provides an opportunity to clean up land contamination and make sites ready for use.

Our  Guidance for developers on contaminated land (PDF) [258KB]  document explains the requirements for investigation and remediation of land proposed for redevelopment.

Information on radon

Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas formed by the decay of small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils. It has the potential to enter into building structures, especially confined spaces, such as basements. A long-term exposure to the gas is linked with health issues such as lung cancer.

Testing for radon

Public Health England (PHE) recommends protective measures be installed in a property if a concentration of 200 becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq m-3) is reached indoors. To test for radon, see the links below. PHE provides resources and advice about radon for the public and has produced radon maps showing areas in England and Wales that may be affected by the gas.