Development on Land Potentially Affected by Contamination

Advice on land potentially affected by contamination

Key considerations

You should consider the potential risks to the water environment, including groundwater, due to impacts from potential contamination as a result of previous industrial use(s) of the site or its proximity to potentially polluting industrial or commercial activities.

Planning applications for the redevelopment of sites potentially affected by contamination need to be, as a minimum, accompanied by a Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA) report.

In the event of potential pollutant linkages being identified, a suitable Quantitative Risk Assessment QRA may be needed. If unacceptable risks are identified, a remediation strategy may be required.

The management of waste and the movement of materials on and/or off site should also be considered throughout the full land contamination risk management process.

Should DAERA be consulted?

Answering ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions may require consultation with DAERA

  • does the development include ground works within 250 m of a site identified as having a previous land use that may have resulted in land contamination?
  • has the applicant/agent identified any potential land contamination issues resulting from previous land use?

Note: where the proposal involves limited ground works (e.g. replacement dwellings, house extensions, change of use, change of house type, internal refurbishment or retrospective applications) consultation is not required.

Planning consultations should not be issued to DAERA until all of the necessary assessments have been completed.  Planning applications accompanied by adequate supporting information in relation to contaminated or potentially contaminated land are more likely to be processed more quickly.

Documents Required

The Practice Guide: Redeveloping Land Affected by Contamination describes in a series of checklists some important elements of each of the following reports but these are not exhaustive.

  • Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA)
  • Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment (GQRA)
  • Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment (DQRA)
  • Remediation strategy
  • Remediation Implementation Plan
  • Remediation Verification Plan
  • Remediation Verification Report
  • Piling Risk Assessments for Land Affected by Contamination
  • Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP)

Further guidance

Data sources

DAERA Historic Landuse Database

DAERA Water Digital Dataset Downloads

Water Information Request Viewer

Waste Management Public Registers are available at and

Environmental Data Services (ENDS) provides a comprehensive listing of local and United Kingdom based environmental consultants which are available to view and search on through the ENDS website

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) provides a search facility to check the accreditation status of organisations i.e. laboratories.

(Water) Domestic Consent Public Register







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