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Keywords :- Listing with background information, of contaminated sites in Scotland?

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From: Dr. John C. Nemeth
Organization: Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: 13th June 1997
Subject: Contaminated sites in Scotland



Dear Sirs,

Do you have a list, with background information, of contaminated sites in the UK? I am interested in gaining access to such information as I am visiting this summer.

I am director of a Haz Waste mamangement program at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and wish to learn more about programs in Scotland that might be like our Superfund program. If possible I would appreciate information on how to access this material.

Respond to this Query / Request


1st response


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Dear Dr Nemeth,

  1. I am afraid that we don't have a list of sites at present. the problem is that the Government initially had plans for a register (so called Section 143 of the Environmental Protection Act) that would list all potentially contaminated sites.

    This legislation was introduced in 1990, but then it was realised that if the sites that were thought to be contaminated were not actually dangerous then there could be 'planning blight' and that property values would drop drastically.

    As a result this requirement for Section 143 registers dropped, and it is the local councils who are responsible for drawing up lists of areas that are contaminated. However there is not any real funding in place to do this. This means that some areas have a register of sorts and some areas do not !!! (typical British compromise that ends up alienating everyone)

  2. You can also try , Robert Dunn who has a page on the Website. He is carrying out research on Contaminated Land at the University of Greenwich, and is a good contact (I have sent him a copy of your email, so he knows about your request)


    Dr Hackenbush


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From: Alasdair Sampson
Organization: Environmental Property Lawyer
Date: 4th January 1999

Dear Dr Nemeth

Whilst we do not have any form of centralised registers of contaminated land sites in Scotland, we do have an annual Vacant and Derelict Land Survey In Scotland. The Survey for 1998 will not be published for some months yet.

The survey does not list contaminated land sites as such, but only those which are vacant and derelict. That said, the Survey states that the contamination status of 50% of the vacant and derelict land in Scotland is simply not know.

Roughly speaking,there are about 13,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land in Scotland - enough to house 300,000+ people!

Land Use Planning policy is now changing to re-direct development, especially of residential housing, towards brownfield sites so the issue of the location, extent, nature and concentration of contaminants will only become of greater importance.

I do not wish to split hairs with the comments of Dr Hackenbush in his reply to your requests - but the UK's first attempt to establish a register under Section 143 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was not to establish a register of potentially contaminated sites, but of sites which had previously been used for potentially contaminative uses.

The problem this generated, as Dr Hackenbush identified, was that it would be perceived as likely to lead to planning blight and depression of values.

The reason was simply that once land was included on the register, because a previous use was potentially contaminative, then it could never be removed, simply as the register related to past uses and not to remediation measures taken to put it back into productive and economic use.

It is anticipated that the Statutory Guidance on contaminated land will come into force in June/July 1999.



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