Contaminated land

Dealing with contamination

Some historic industries, such as gas works, chemical works, landfill sites, sewage works, petrol stations and scrap yards, caused pollution problems through poor storage and waste disposal practices.

Sometimes they have the potential to cause health related problems to future users of the sites, so the council has a role to play in ensuring that land is suitable for use.

We do this by commenting on planning applications, soil risk assessments and sampling results. We also work with landowners and developers during the planning and construction phase to make sure contamination isn't present.

Contaminated Land Guidance

Applicants, developers, landowners and consultants

In association with the Environment Agency and the other local authorities in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, the council has jointly published technical advice and guidance. This is for those involved in the redevelopment of land that has the potential to be affected by contamination or where a sensitive end use is proposed.

The guidance is subject to change in line with new government policy, legislative changes and best practice guidance.

Contaminated Land Strategy

The council’s contaminated land strategy outlines how we will deal with contaminated land within Watford and identify sites for further investigation.

Currently, whilst there are around 250 sites that have been identified and prioritised for further investigation, none have been formally declared as contaminated.

Also, there are no entries on our Contaminated Land Register.

Environmental Information Requests

The council can provide environmental information on sites within Watford. Whilst our records should not be considered a full history of a particular site, we may have information relating to contaminated land issues, site investigations and remedial works.

We may also have details of relevant former landfill sites, authorised industrial processes, pollution incidents and private water supplies.

These enquiries are different from the standard enquiries that can be made by undertaking a Local Land Charges search which are restricted to three very specific questions relating to the Contaminated Land Register.

You will need to provide the:

  • Address of the property, or land, with a postcode and if possible a plan confirming its location
  • The nature of your interest in the land
  • Whether or not there are specific issues that have prompted the enquiry or another indication of type of information that is required.

The provision of information about land affected by contamination is controlled by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004), as specified within the Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

In line with the provisions of the EIR 2004, Watford Borough Council charges for providing such information. This charge is currently set at £69 (+VAT) per hour but is reviewed annually. A standard house sale/purchase enquiry will be charged as a single hour. More complex enquiries will have the time estimated in advance. A formal response will not be provided until payment has been received. Enquiries will be routinely answered within 10 working days, subject to the complexity of the enquiry. Payments can be made by cheque or by credit/debit card by calling 01923 226400. 

In the event that any information request is considered atypical, the person making the enquiry will be informed of this fact and appropriate arrangements will be made to progress the enquiry through the Freedom Of Information system.

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