How we deal with contaminated land

Land is classed as contaminated when substances on or under the land cause:

  • significant harm to people, property or protected species
  • pollution to surface waters, such as lakes or rivers, or groundwater
  • harm to people due to radioactivity

We are legally required to identify and inspect any potential contaminated land in Adur and Worthing. Our contaminated land strategies can be viewed below:

Any land in Adur and Worthing which has been identified as contaminated, as defined in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, is entered on the public register. The public registers for both Adur and Worthing are available to view at our offices at:

  • Worthing Town Hall, Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1HA

For a small charge you can order copies of the register for either Adur or Worthing from the Public Health & Regulation team. However the register does not currently contain any entries for either Adur or Worthing.

Environmental Information Requests

If you are buying a property or progressing a planning application and have concerns that the property or site may be on or near potentially contaminated land you can arrange for an environmental search to be conducted. This is strongly recommended as any issues can have a real impact on house prices, insurance quotes and the potential to further develop, as well as possible health implications.

The Public Health & Regulation Team conduct environmental searches by request only. Searches cover any potentially contaminated land within 100m of the property or site and include:

  • any historical files or microfiche relating to your site
  • all previous searches conducted nearby
  • our electronic data on potentially contaminative land uses
  • historical maps detailed previous land use
  • current or outstanding planning applications relating to the site


  • Environmental Information Regulations - Search Fee: £120.00
  • When the search area includes more than 10 addresses an additional £11.00 will be charged for each additional address

Prices from 1st April 2024 to 31st March 2025. Prices are subject to an annual increase in April, prices correct as at 1st April 2024.

Searches will be completed within 20 working days of the initial request being received. A hard copy is issued through Royal Mail and an electronic copy can be made available if requested.

It is recommended that a separate enquiry is made to the Environment Agency.

Other independent companies also perform similar services.

Planning requirements for contaminated land

All applications submitted to the Planning department or Building Control are cross-referenced against data held by the Public Health & Regulation team regarding potentially contaminated land.

For applications relating to properties which are situated on or within a 10m radius of potentially contaminated land, a full condition is applied. This means that a preliminary risk assessment must be completed by an independent and suitably qualified third party and submitted to either the Public Health & Regulation or Planning department for review.

If the risk is considered to be low the works can commerce with a precautionary condition applied. This means if any visibly contaminated, odorous or asbestos containing material is identified during development, works should immediately cease and the Public Health & Regulation and Planning departments should both be informed.

If the risks identified are likely to have an impact on those on site, further investigation may be required, including collecting soil samples from the site. If it is then established that there is an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment remediation will be required. A detailed strategy for work going forward must be submitted to either the Public Health & Regulation or Planning department for approval. Once remediation has been completed and approved by both the Public Health & Regulation and Planning departments, work can recommence.

Full explanations of these planning conditions can be obtained from the Planning department.

Report potentially contaminated land

If you are concerned a piece of land is contaminated, or something is happening that could contaminate it, or you have any further queries, please contact us:

Further information:

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Page last updated: 05 April 2024

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