Ground contamination assessment required given potential risks

Various conditions imposed on a planning permission for a single dwelling in Northamptonshire which required a comprehensive ground contamination assessment and subsequent remediation if required have been judged by an inspector to be reasonable and necessary.

The council argued that a petrol filling station adjoined the site, which formed part of the appellant’s garden. Due to underlying geology there was a risk of elevated concentrations of arsenic, vanadium and radon gas although the appellant claimed that neither he nor his family had suffered any adverse impacts.

In accordance with national planning policies it was appropriate for a local authority to make an assessment of the potential risk from pollution on human health. A risk-based approach as incorporated in the conditions was appropriate since if no contamination were found the appellant was not required to undertake further work. Despite not having identified it as a risk at pre-application consultation stage this did not override the importance of ensuring that future occupiers were safe from harmful chemicals and emissions.

Inspector: S Harley; Written representations

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