Contaminated land inspections, contamination assessments, soil testing, environmental information, landfills, oil storage tanks, radon, report land pollution.
Report land pollution
If rubbish is building up on someone's property to a point where it is causing a nuisance, or may attract vermin and is in breach of public health laws, the council has powers to issue a notice to get the property cleaned up. It is an offence not to comply with a notice, and the person can be prosecuted and fined.
Where the owner or occupier is unwilling or unable to clean up their property, we will arrange for the work to be undertaken and recharge it to them. Often there may be welfare issues when the occupier can no longer look after the property, and cases often involve the council’s social and housing services, as well as environmental control.
In some cases untidy properties are dealt with through planning legislation, and will be investigated by our planning enforcement section.
Find out more and report fly-tipping or report littering.
The council has a duty to identify and inspect land which may be contaminated, for example, due to some previous industrial use, and decide whether it is suitable for its current use. For some plots of land, this may only need a brief study to be done, but for other sites it may require a more detailed assessment and testing to be carried out.
Due to the large number of potentially contaminated sites, the council’s inspection strategy will focus on the top priority sites where there is the greatest risk to public health and the environment.
A copy of the council's inspection strategy for contaminated land is available:
Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy 2013 (402kb)
The public register for contaminated land lists those sites which have been formally determined as part of this inspection process, and where remediation action has been carried out.
Where a problem is identified, it may be necessary to clean up the land to make it suitable for use (this is known as remediation). Most contaminated land will be remediated voluntarily as part of the planning process, when the land is redeveloped, and the council will often use planning conditions to make sure this is done properly (please refer to information below on planning guidance).
However, where no voluntary action has been proposed, and the council has identified contaminated land, the general principle is that the polluter pays for the clean-up. Unfortunately in some cases the original polluter cannot be traced and so the current owner or occupier may be liable. The process of determining liability is complex, but more information is provided in our Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy.
The council will only undertake soil sampling as part of its duties for investigating contaminated land and this will be done in accordance with our inspection strategy.
We will not undertake sampling upon request unless there is a reason to suspect there could be a significant risk from contamination.
If you wish to engage a contaminated land specialist to investigate your property, you can search the following online directories for contaminated land consultants and contractors, or use other local directories and internet searches:
The council cannot make any specific recommendations, but you are advised to discuss your particular requirements and to check that the company is competent and suitably qualified to carry out the work. You are also advised to get more than one quote for comparison.
Any oil storage, such as tanks containing heating oil, diesel and waste oil, should be routinely checked and maintained to avoid the risk of causing pollution, through leaks and spills. For larger oil storage on commercial sites, the tank may also need to comply with the Oil Storage Regulations. It is always a good idea to keep your domestic heating oil tank in good condition, and ideally it should be properly bunded (contained within a sealed area or unit), so that in the event of a leak, the oil will not soak away into the ground. Autumn is a good time to check your oil tank and the Environment Agency provide useful advice for homeowners:
Gov.uk - Now's the time to check your oil tank (external website)
Oil leaks can cause a great deal of damage to your property and the wider environment and can be very costly to clean up. As the owner you may be liable and even face prosecution if the oil pollutes groundwater or a nearby river. You may wish to check with your home or business insurance policy to make sure you are covered for such incidents.
The Environment Agency have produced further guidance on oil storage in the following leaflets:
Oil storage advice leaflet (pdf 205kb opens in new window)
Pollution Prevention Guidelines (pdf 274kb opens in new window)
The UK spill association have a website which lists accredited contractors who can give specialist advice and assistance for cleaning up oil and chemical spillages:
UK Spill contractors (external website)
The council holds a variety of environmental information which is accessible to the public, under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. The council must provide such information within 20 working days of receiving a request (or explain our reasons for refusing to), and can make a reasonable charge for providing it.
When property is bought or sold, it is common to carry out environmental searches. This will usually include finding out if the land has been identified as potentially contaminated, due to a current or previous use, and what inspections have been carried out. The council can produce an environmental enquiry report which summarises this information and explains our approach to dealing with contaminated land.
The following document lists what information is available and provides further details:
Environmental Enquiry Service leaflet (pdf 103kb opens in new window)
An Environmental Enquiry Report costs £79.50 and requests can usually be responded to within 5 working days. Other requests for environmental information may be charged at an hourly rate of £37.05. We will confirm the charges, timescales and your preferred method of payment (cheque made payable to East Riding of Yorkshire Council, invoice for business customers, or card payment over the telephone), before carrying out the search.
To order a report or discuss your requirements further, please contact the environmental control team:
Telephone: (01482) 396301
(office hours 8.30am - 5.00pm Monday - Thursday, 8.30am - 4.30pm Friday)
Information on requesting a local land charges search for a specific property is available on the local land charges page.
You can also view maps and environmental data held on the Environment Agency's website, for example on pollution incidents or flood risk in your local area:
Environment Agency - Check local environmental data (external website)
The Environment Agency regulate waste management activities, and you are advised to contact them for specific advice on 08708 506 506. Burying or disposing of waste without the correct permit is generally not allowed, however some activities are exempt. More information is available on the GOV.uk website:
GOV.uk - Operating a landfill site (external website)
Failure to notify the Environment Agency or obtain the correct waste permit may result in enforcement action. Also if the waste leads to pollution of land or water the operator may be liable for the cost of cleaning this up. It is likely that any new waste activity will require planning permissionfrom the council.
You can view details of current landfill sites in your local are by visiting the GOV.uk website:
GOV.uk - Check local environmental data (external website)
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which enters buildings from the ground, and can cause lung cancer. Buildings in some areas may have a higher probability of being affected by radon, due to the geology of the area, but even in these areas most homes have low levels of radon.
Current building regulations mean that new buildings in radon-affected areas may need protection measures.
The UK radon website offers more information and guidance about radon affected areas:
UK radon (external website)
Where development is proposed on a site that is
a land contamination assessment must be submitted with the planning application. A lack of sufficient information with your application may lead to delays.
For small scale residential development on land with no previous industrial use, this screening assessment should be submitted with your planning application:
Screening assessment form for land affected by contamination (word 44kb opens in new window)
Further guidance on what previous uses may have caused contamination and what information is required through the planning process is available in the following document:
YALPAG Technical Guidance - Development on land affected by contamination (pdf 947kb opens in new window)
Where a site is affected by contamination, the responsibility for securing a safe development rests with the developer and/or landowner. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek appropriate professional advice if you intend to develop land which may be affected by contamination.
An adequate site investigation must be undertaken by competent persons (with a recognised relevant qualification, sufficient relevant experience and membership of a relevant professional body).
You can search for contaminated land specialists using the following online directories:
ENDS directory of environmental consultants (external website)
AGS directory of geoenvironmental specialists (external website)
In addition to the planning guidance document above, there is technical guidance available on verification requirements for cover systems and gas protection systems, which are often used to remediate contaminated sites when they are redeveloped:
YALPAG Technical Guidance - Verification requirements for cover systems (pdf 1.41mb opens in new window)
YAHPAC Technical Guidance - Verification requirements for gas protection systems (pdf 4.29mb opens in new window)
The Environment Agency and Defra offer advice and guidance on assessing and remediating contaminated land on the Gov.uk website:
GOV.uk - Environment Agency Guiding Principles for land contamination (external website)
GOV.uk - Model Procedures for the management of land contamination (external website)
The government's National Planning Policy Framework, which sets out the broad objectives and requirements of the planning system is available on the Government's planning website:
GOV.uk - National Planning Policy Framework (external website)
There is also National Planning Practice Guidance available as an online resource:
National Planning Practice Guidance - Land affected by contamination (external website)
The council has powers under the environmental damage regulations to take enforcement action against businesses who have caused serious harm to the environment, for example due to a fuel leak or chemical release. We also regulate industry through environmental permits.
More information on the environmental damage regulations is available in the following government leaflet:
Defra Environmental Damage Regulations leaflet (pdf 958kb opens in new window)