Contaminated land—meaning of controlled waters under Pt IIA
Contaminated land—meaning of controlled waters under Pt IIA

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Contaminated land—meaning of controlled waters under Pt IIA
  • Coastal waters
  • Inland freshwaters
  • Ground waters
  • Why are controlled waters relevant to contaminated land?

Contaminated land—meaning of controlled waters under Pt IIA

What are controlled waters for the purposes of Pt IIA?

'Controlled waters' are defined in the EPA 1990 as having the same meaning as in the Water Resources Act 1991, Pt III (WRA 1991) except that the definition of 'ground waters' is modified.

Essentially, controlled waters include:

  1. relevant territorial waters (eg sea water out to three nautical miles)

  2. coastal waters (eg tidal waters)

  3. inland freshwaters (eg rivers, streams, watercourses, lakes, and ponds that are not tidal)

  4. ground waters (eg water stored in rock layers beneath the soil)

Relevant territorial waters

'Relevant territorial waters' are those that extend seaward for three nautical miles from the baselines adjacent to England and Wales. This definition adopts a three nautical mile limit as opposed to the 12 nautical mile limit for territorial waters under the Territorial Sea Act 1987.

The baseline is usually the low water mark around the coast. It is delineated in the relevant orders in council:

  1. Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964 (25 September 1964) as amended by the 1998 Order

  2. Territorial Waters (Amendment) Order in Council 1979 (23 May 1979)

Coastal waters

'Coastal waters' are those that extend landward from the baselines as far as the:

  1. limit of the highest tide, or

  2. freshwater limit of any relevant river or watercourse

It includes the waters of any enclosed dock which

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