Building on contaminated land

Find advice for developing or building on contaminated land.


Land contamination is an important consideration for all new developments. In line with the National Planning Policy Framework, all planning applications must consider and identify all potential contamination issues by undertaking a preliminary risk assessment. A developer may need to do this before seeking planning approval. 

As part of the planning application process, we will assess all applications to determine if contamination has been effectively considered and suitably addressed. We may: 

  • request further information 
  • recommend contaminated land conditions if we believe further investigation is required or controls are necessary (such as remediation strategies) to secure a safe development 
  • recommend an application is refused 

Contamination assessment 

You should complete a Preliminary Assessment of Land Contamination and submit this to us with the planning application. If potential risks are identified, conditions may be imposed that require you to investigate further and remediate, where necessary, any contamination. 

If you're developing an individual residential property, such as one house in a garden, a screening assessment can be used as a basic preliminary risk assessment. This is unsuitable for larger housing developments, allotments, schools, nurseries, children’s play areas, or if the land or surrounding area has been a past industrial use on or next to the land. In these cases, a Preliminary Assessment of Land would be required. 

More information for developers, landowners and consultants

We recommend you read the guidance from YALPAG, the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Pollution Advisory Group: 

 Development on land affected by contamination technical guidance for developers, landowners and consultants (pdf / 1 MB)

 Screening assessment form (pdf / 176 KB)

 Screening assessment form - version for printing (pdf / 115 KB)

 Verification requirements for cover systems (pdf / 1 MB)

 Verification requirements for gas protection systems (pdf / 4 MB)

Find more information about contaminated land on the GOV.UK website