Land quality

Almost a quarter of the Borough area has been worked for minerals and the land subsequently filled. Although much of this activity has been on land within the Green Belt, many old sites are now occupied by, or are close to housing and commercial developments. Over 200 former mineral extraction sites dating from 1876 to 1940 have been identified from Ordnance Survey mapping. These pits were filled long before any controls existed on waste disposal and, together with former industrial sites, now present a range of unknown contamination issues which need to be addressed.

Land contamination and the planning process

When land is undergoing development the Council requires the site to be investigated and assessed for potential contamination under planning policy EN15 and in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs 120 and 121. Where necessary the Council then requires the site to be cleaned up so that it is suitable for its intended use.

Technical guidance on dealing with contamination issues is available on the GOV.uk website.

The redevelopment of previously used sites and derelict land within the Borough will continue to remain the primary mechanism for dealing with contaminated land.

Part 2A Contaminated Land

Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on the Council to deal with historical contamination that presents unacceptable risks to human health, property, or the wider environment.

Contaminated land under this legislation does not include all land where contamination is present, but only land where harm is or would be significant.

The Council has prepared a pdf icon new Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy [1Mb]to supercede the original strategy of 2001. The new Strategy was adopted by the Council's Cabinet in June 2017 and includes a five year work programme focusing on high priority sites.

Use of chemicals and their disposal

The Community Recycling Centre will accept a number of different domestic chemicals and hazardous wastes from Surrey residents, including:

  • household and garden chemicals
  • used engine oil
  • paint
  • car batteries and batteries
  • domestic asbestos

Visit their web page to check what they accept, conditions of use, opening hours and contact details before you visit.