Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Contaminated land environmental legislation

Contaminated land environmental legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to contaminated land. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

Environmental management systems (EMS) and environmental reports

Northern Ireland

Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1997/2778. Sets out the regime for identifying and remedying contaminated land.

Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. Gives the Department of Environment and district councils similar investigative, enforcement and clean up powers to deal with illegally dumped waste. Changes the legislative framework for management of land that has been contaminated by pollution.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/252. Brings into force rules requiring polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, species and their habitats and protected sites.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/361  Amends 2009/252 to update how warrants can be issued and enforced, gives magistrates more flexibility in the fines they can apply for conviction, and clarifies that references to European legislation include any future amendments.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2011/210  Amends 2009/252 to include the geological storage of carbon dioxide as an activity for which operators will be liable if environmental damage is caused.

Radioactive Contaminated Land Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2006/345. Lays down basic safety standards for protecting the health of workers and the public from the dangers of ionising radiation.

Radioactive Contaminated Land Regulations (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations SR 2007/3236 Amends 2006/345 by extending those regulations to land contaminated by a nuclear occurrence.

Radioactive Substances Contaminated Land Regulations (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Regulations SR 2010/2145.  Amends 2006/345 by redefining 'substance', removing the exclusion for radon and its decay products where they are the result of the after affects of a radiological emergency or past activity.


Environmental Protection Act 1990. Establishes the legislative framework for identifying and dealing with contaminated land.

Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2000/178. Introduces a scheme for remedying contaminated land, identifies 'special sites' enforced by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), remediation notices and their contents, and sets out the information to be held on a contaminated land register maintained by local authorities.

Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2005/658. Aligns the contaminated land regime with the water environment protection regime where contaminated land is a source of pollution.

Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2009/266.Brings into force rules requiring polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, species and their habitats and protected sites.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2007/179. Amends the provisions of Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to cover the identification and remediation of radioactive contaminated land.

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Scotland) Amendment Regulations SSI 2009/202. Amends 2007/179 in terms of radioactive contaminated land (excludes land contaminated by nuclear sources), and empowers SEPA to determine if such land is 'contaminated land'. Amends the definition of 'substance' in 2007/179.

Further information

Environmental legislation on NetRegs

In this Guideline

Defining land contamination

Responsibilities for land contamination

Preventing land contamination

Environmental damage caused by land contamination

Cleaning up contaminated land

Buying land affected by contamination

Insuring against the risk of land contamination

Contaminated land environmental legislation

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