Land quality

What is Land Quality?

The Wakefield district, like many other parts of the UK and developed parts of the world, has an industrial past. When industrial sites closed they may have left behind chemicals and other substances that could be a risk to humans and the environment.

The law that covers this area of work requires us to identify where potentially contaminated land sites are, what risk to health or the environment they may now present, and requiring those responsible for the contaminated land to clean it up. More detailed information on our work can be found in the Contaminated Land Strategy 2003 and subsequent review in 2007.

Where is Contaminated Land in the Wakefield District?

We hold information on potentially contaminated land within the district, which includes:

  • Its size
  • Likely contamination
  • Likely risk to human health and the environment
  • Any site investigation details

Information about any specific site is available on request. There is a charge of £88.50 (VAT exempt) for land quality searches for both commercial and residential requests. For more complex searches an additional charge of £41 per hour (VAT exempt) is levied after the first two hours, which are covered by the £88.50.

Please contact the Land Quality Team by email or phone to arrange a search. 

Contaminated Land - Public Register

We maintain a Public Regis​ter of all legal action taken in relation to contaminated land and is available free of charge in both electronic and paper format. The Register is available to see during office hours, but it is recommended that a prior appointment is made by contacting us.

Houses on former Industrial Land

Over the decades housing has been developed on former industrial land, but it has only been in the last 20-30 years when such land has been properly cleared of contamination in any systematic way prior to development.

It is not possible to tell from visual inspection alone if a house has been built on a potentially contaminated site and so we would always recommend contacting us if you have any concerns, and arranging for an environmental survey if necessary. Our guide for people who are looking to buy or sell a house gives further information.

Planning Advice

It is very important that new housing developments don't follow the same mistakes of the past and build housing on former industrial land without checking for contamination and making the site safe. We have produced a guide for developers and their consultants who want to build on land that may be contaminated.

A common method used to make contaminated land safe is to cover it with clean material and our guide: 'Verification requirements for cover systems' has been produced to help ensure this is done correctly.

On some sites where ground gases are an issue it is also common place to install gas protection measures in buildings and our guide: 'Verification requirements for gas protection systems' has also been produced to ensure that this is done correctly

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring gas and so is not dealt with as land contamination, but comes from soil and occurs in some areas more than others – see the UK maps of radon​.

Steps should be taken by householders and developers to prevent the build-up of Radon gas in affected areas.  To find out more about the risks from Radon and what you can do about it visit the Public Health England website.

Contact us

Land Quality

Environmental Health
Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB

0345 8 506 506