About contaminated land and applying for a search

In common with many other countries the UK has a legacy of land contamination caused by industrial development and related practices.

Much land contamination has been present for long periods of time. Contaminated land can cause harm to human health, water supplies, natural habitats and property but not all contamination poses problems.

You can check if a property has been formally determined as contaminated land or if it has a previous industrial use using our historical land use search for free.

We have a procedure for dealing with more detailed enquiries about contaminated land.

Our charges are:

Environmental Contaminated Land Search (commercial) £138.67
Environmental Contaminated Land Search (residential) £105.39

If you would like us to search our records for a particular property you can place your request and pay online using our online form to search for contaminated land. You will be asked to provide your contact details, location of the site/address you are enquiring about and make the payment.

Apply for a contaminated land enquiry

This covers the cost of 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 service of a legal notice.

The following standard issues are addressed:

  • 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

Contact the contaminated land team.

Other useful information sources for land use history in Camden include

Information for homeowners

In common with many other countries the UK has a legacy of land contamination caused by industrial development and related practices.

Much land contamination has been present for long periods of time. Contaminated land can cause harm to human health, water supplies, natural habitats and property but not all contamination poses problems.

If your property was built on land that once had an industrial use, for example, railway land, there is a possibility that there is contamination in the ground.

If you are worried that the land under the property you are buying is contaminated, that is you have evidence it was built on an industrial site, then you may need specialist advice from an environmental consultant.

Your solicitor’s search when buying a new property should ask us if the property has been formally identified as contaminated land. We recommend that when you are buying a property, your solicitor carries out an environmental search to ascertain the previous use of the land.

We have a procedure for dealing with enquiries about contaminated land. There are also a number of commercial organisations that provide this service.

Information for property developers

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

We have to make sure that land is, or will be made, suitable for any new use. 

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, before official permission is given for the development.

Where necessary, the land may then need to be remediated before the development begins to avoid unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

We require developers to undertake investigations and make recommendations for addressing contamination as a condition of planning approval.

Where you are proposing to develop land that may be contaminated, it is advisable to contact us before the planning application is submitted. It is useful to do this as we may have additional information about which you may be unaware.

During the site investigation works and where necessary, remedial works, we may need to visit the site, which will give more opportunity to discuss any problems or queries which may have arisen.

You may also wish to visit planning online for more information on the planning process and for details of the planning history of a site.