Contaminated land enquiries and advice for developers

If you are concerned that the land under a property you are buying is contaminated then you may need specialist advice from an environmental consultant. We recommend that your solicitor’s search when buying a new property asks the council if the land the property has been built on has been formally identified as contaminated.

If you already own a property that was built on land that once had an industrial use, there is a possibility that there is contamination in the ground. Tower Hamlets Council can search our records for potential contamination of a property, but there are also a number of commercial companies that provide this service.

We can investigate

  • location of landfill sites
  • known sites of contaminated land on or adjoining the property
  • known processes of contaminative potential on the site or adjoining premises
  • location of any nearby private water supplies
  • nearby Part A processes controlled under the Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • nearby Part B processes controlled under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • complaints about environmental issues where substantiated through service of legal notice or prosecution

We charge

From 1 April 2020 our charges will be as follows:

  • £193 for standard search
  • £512 for non standard search and
  • £230 or contaminated land search requiring the use of environmental databases other than the search to cover the cost of staff time spent searching records and preparing the response.

We aim to respond to your enquiry within 10 working days. We search our records for information about contamination of the site and for past uses that may have involved contaminative processes.

We will try to respond to all of your questions apart from where you ask about complaints. We cannot reveal details of complaints unless they have been substantiated by the service of a legal notice.

For information about this please call 020 7364 5000 where you will be asked to provide your contact details and the location of the site/address about which you are enquiring.

Advice for developers

During the redevelopment of a site with a previous industrial use or where contamination is suspected to be an issue, the council will want to ensure that developers carry out investigations and formulate proposals for dealing with any contamination in a responsible and effective manner.

You and your environmental consultant will need to assess the potential risks from contamination on the basis of the proposed future use and local circumstances; and make recommendations for addressing any contamination, before planning permission is given for the development.

Environmental Health and Protection can advise on all aspects of contamination or potential contamination of land.