Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Responsibilities for land contamination

Responsibilities for land contamination

You could be responsible for land contamination, for example, if you:

  • develop land that is contaminated
  • cause environmental damage to land
  • cause contamination in breach of your pollution prevention and control (PPC) permit.

What you must do

Land development responsibilities

You could be required to clean up land contamination before you are allowed to carry out development. Your local council can impose planning conditions that require you to assess the risk of contamination and clean up the land, known as remediation, to make the site suitable for the proposed use.

Environmental damage responsibilities

You could be responsible for land contamination if it is classed as environmental damage and was caused on or after:

  • 24 July 2009 in Northern Ireland
  • 24 June 2009 in Scotland.

See the page in this guideline on environmental damage caused by land contamination.

Permit responsibilities

You could also be responsible for land contamination if it is caused by you breaching your PPC permit.

Further information

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA): Contaminated land

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA): Contaminated land

Scottish Government: Contaminated land statutory guidance

HMRC: Tax breaks for remediation of land contamination

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

Environmental News Blog

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms