The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
the likelihood that harm, or pollution of water, will occur as a result of contaminants in, on or under the land, and
the scale and seriousness of such harm or pollution if it did occur
Therefore, assessing risk involves estimating what might happen, how bad it might be, and using this knowledge to help make decisions. It may be difficult to get exact measurements of contamination, know how widespread it is and predict what harm it may cause due to:
a lack of scientific information about how substances in the soil behave
variations in contaminant levels, eg they often vary with depth and from one spot to the next
variations in the possible effects of contamination in different circumstances, eg different land use, other contaminants in the soil, and
the difficulty of predicting when and how substances might cause harm to people, animals or water, or how they might react with other substances in the soil
Risk assessments should be based on information which is:
relevant to the assessment of risks arising from the presence of contaminants in the soil
appropriate to inform regulatory decisions in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Pt IIA (EPA 1990) and the statutory guidance
Local authorities (LAs)
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