As part of the planning permission process, Local Authorities may request that developers engage experts to assess land contamination. This is to investigate the proposed area to be built on with a view to determining levels of contamination and implementing proactive steps to ensure the land is safe for the intended use as a result of the proposed development.
Both contaminated land surveys and soil contamination investigations are typically carried out in two phases. The first phase is usually the desk-top study, while the second element is the ‘Invasive’ survey.
During a Phase 1 study, a consultant will perform a site ‘walkover’ which includes a visual survey of the land to identify any areas of potential contamination along with a search of historical data and mapping.
Phase II, is a much more in-depth exploration of the land to be assessed. Using the data gathered during the initial phase, a series of samples from the environment, including soil and groundwater will be collected. All of the collected samples are logged to enable the surveyor to undertake soil profiling based upon the location from which each sample was obtained. Once all relevant and required samples have been gathered, they are then submitted for chemical analysis to determine levels of contamination.
The outcome is an environmental report which uses conceptual modelling in order to undertake an assessment of potential contaminants and associated levels of risk ascribed to each and then an associated plan for mitigating the harm to an receptors.