News

Reducing Risk & Preventing Claims on Complex Brownfield Residential Sites

Car Parts found in the garden topsoil of a recently occupied development

The title of a very informative article in the September/October AGS Magazine. If you want to take advantage of the opportunities or avoid the risks of contaminated land then this article is worth a read.

It helps to underline the fact that for a successful project contaminated land has to be addressed as an integrated part of the project and not an after thought. The latter approach often leads to delays and additional costs.

For more detailed advice we would also recommend the CIRIA guidance for small brownfield sites and contaminated land, A guide to small brownfield sites and land contamination (C773) which provides clarity and greater confidence to those looking to develop small brownfield and potentially contaminated land sites. The guide is available to NHBC members via their website.

Environment Agency updated land contamination guidance

The Environment Agency (EA) has published an update to the Model procedures for the management of land contamination (CLR11).

The updated online guidance is called: Land contamination: risk management (LCRM).

The EA is asking for feedback on the technical content and structure by 5 December 2019.

The current guidance, CLR11 was introduced in 2004 and has never been updated.

The scope, purpose and the framework of LCRM remains the same as the old CLR11 . The reformed content:

  • represents up-to-date government guidance on land contamination risk management
  • is intended to be accessible for people with disabilities – for example, be usable with assistive technology like screen readers
  • is intended to be navigable, concise, clear and understandable to all
  • is web-based, easier to manage, maintain and keep up to date
  • is now more user focussed, shorter and easier to understand
  • is clear on what you have to do and where to find out more
  • is aimed at people that might be doing this for the first time as well as experienced professionals
  • is available online

The technical language, terminology and content has been updated, explained and retained where necessary.  Repetition and general background information has been removed so that the EA can meet GOV.UK publishing requirements.

A More Sustainable form of Soil Stabilisation?

Could biopolymers provide a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to traditional additives, such as cement, which have significant negative impacts on the environment. Significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases are emitted during the production of cement, which is also a process with a high energy demand. Biopolymers on the other hand are stable, carbon neutral and renewable.

Issue 527 of the EU, Science for Environment Policy paper states: “Soil stabilisation and the process of strengthening the physical properties of soil is fundamental to the construction process of infrastructure such as roads, runways and earth dams. Many chemical additives currently used in soil stabilisation are associated with adverse environmental effects and this study examines the use of biopolymers, such as xanthan gum and guar gum, as more sustainable alternatives. The researchers have run a series of laboratory experiments to evaluate the viability of these two types of biopolymers for use as additives for collapsible soil stabilisation, and found that both could be used in place of conventional additives to improve soil strength, permeability and collapse potential.”

This is something we will be following with interest.