Contaminated land—orphan linkages

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

  • Contaminated land—orphan linkages
  • What is an orphan linkage?
  • Who pays for remediation where there is an orphan linkage?

Contaminated land—orphan linkages

What is an orphan linkage?

An 'orphan linkage' is one where there are no appropriate persons for a significant contaminant linkage (SCL). This may arise where:

  1. the SCL relates solely to the pollution of controlled waters and no Class A person can be found

  2. no Class A or Class B persons can be found, or

  3. those who would otherwise be liable are exempted by one of the relevant statutory provisions

Who pays for remediation where there is an orphan linkage?

Who pays for the remediation of orphan linkages depends on how many SCLs are on the site, how the remediation actions are characterised and whether the liability group comprises Class A or B persons.

Where there is only one SCL, and that SCL is an orphan linkage, the enforcing authority should pay for the cost of any remediation.

Where there are two or more SCLs, of which some are orphan linkages, the situation is more

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