Policy DP1: Development on Contaminated or Unstable Land
  Policy DP2: Development on Landfill Sites
  Policy DP3: Development and Flood Risk
  Policy DP4: Development and Pollution
  Policy DP5: Hazardous Installations

6.1 This section of the plan brings together those policies concerned with ensuring that, where new development is concerned, issues of pollution are properly addressed. This means ensuring that proposals to re-use land that may have been polluted by a previous use can be carried out safely. It also means making provision for potentially polluting uses by guiding them to appropriate locations.
6.2 It is important to emphasise that the planning system and the pollution control system have distinct but complementary functions. National planning guidance (PPG23: ‘Planning and Pollution Control’) emphasises the importance of close consultation between planning authorities and the bodies with statutory responsibility for pollution control with the aim of preventing unnecessary duplication and conflict. The main agencies concerned with pollution control are:
  • The Environment Agency;
  • The Health and Safety Executive;
  • The City Council (Environmental Health Department).
6.3 The role of the planning system is to determine whether a proposed development itself is an acceptable use of land; the control of the processes or substances themselves is a matter for the pollution control regime.
Contaminated and Unstable Land
6.4 Due to its industrial past, Preston has a legacy of land that has been contaminated, or rendered unstable, by former uses. This land tends to be concentrated in the urban area. It is a principle of sustainable development that this “brownfield” land be brought back into beneficial use because this will help to facilitate urban regeneration and relieve the pressure to develop greenfield sites. Contaminated or unstable land is often derelict, and so its re-use can also bring about significant environmental improvements at the local level.
6.5 However, whilst it is important to promote the re-use of these sites, it is also important to ensure that, where land is known or strongly suspected of being contaminated or unstable, the nature of the problem is thoroughly investigated and remedial measures are implemented before development takes place.
Policy DP1 Development on Contaminated or Unstable Land
Development will be permitted on sites which are unstable or contaminated by former uses or processes provided that the nature of the hazard or contamination has been fully identified and that the appropriate remedial works will be implemented prior to any development taking place.
6.6 In implementing this policy the Council will liaise closely with the Environment Agency and other relevant pollution control bodies. PPG23 emphasises that it is the role of the planning system to complement and not duplicate the statutory pollution control system.
6.7 The planning issues arising from unstable ground and contaminated land are in many ways similar. Examples of contaminated land include old gas works, land previously used for industrial purposes, and completed landfill sites. This last category is the subject of a separate policy (Policy DP2 - Development on Landfill Sites). Unstable land is that which has been damaged by mining activities or other industrial activities, or which is naturally unstable. The appropriate use for an area of contaminated or unstable land will be determined by its allocation in the Local Plan, subject to other planning considerations, although the level of contamination or degree of instability will be a material consideration.
6.8 In considering proposals for contaminated land, the responsibility for providing information on the extent of the contamination or degree of instability lies with the developer. Where it is known or strongly suspected that a site is contaminated or unstable the developer will normally be required to carry out a site investigation and submit details of any remedial measures before a planning application can be determined. Where contamination or instability is only suspected, or where the evidence suggests it may only be slight, planning permission may be granted but conditioned so that development may only be commenced once a site investigation has been carried out and the required remedial measures incorporated. Developers will need to employ appropriately qualified experts to conduct site investigations and assess the need for remedial measures.
Development on Landfill Sites
6.9 Completed landfill sites are a particular category of contaminated land. Historically, there has been a heavy reliance on landfill as a means of waste disposal, but this is gradually being reduced in response to the Government’s sustainable development objectives. Because they generally contain biodegradable material, landfill sites tend to generate landfill gas, which principally comprises methane and carbon dioxide. This gas may give rise to a variety of hazards if it migrates to and accumulates in property or confined spaces. If generated in sufficient quantity the gas may form an explosive mixture with air, it can act as an asphyxiant, and in particular circumstances it may be toxic. Landfill gas can also migrate beyond the actual landfill site, and this poses particular problems in developing closed landfill sites.
Policy DP2 Development on Landfill Sites
Development will be permitted on former landfill sites, or within 250 metres of current or former landfill sites where the applicant can clearly demonstrate that there is no risk from the generation or migration of landfill gas, or that satisfactory measures can be taken to counter any possible hazards.
6.10 In implementing this policy, the Council will consult closely with the relevant pollution control and waste regulatory authorities. The Council will, when judging any planning application by this policy, be mindful of the relevant guidance contained in Waste Management Papers 26A (Landfill Completion) and 27 (Landfill Gas).
6.11 The policy reflects the requirements of Article 10 of the Town and Country (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 in that the waste regulatory authority (the Environment Agency) must be consulted on planning applications for development within 250 metres of land which is or has at any time in the last 30 years been used for the deposit of refuse or waste. The onus is on the waste regulatory authority to identify sites and notify them to the Council, as local planning authority. The Council will however consult on suspect sites outside the criteria set out in the GDPO.
6.12 Because of the potential hazards, the redevelopment of a closed landfill requires careful assessment. Where the presence of landfill gas is present or strongly suspected then the developer will be expected to carry out investigations to determine the source of the gas and to apply appropriate remedial measures to prevent it causing a hazard either during the course of development or during the subsequent use of the site. Particular care is needed to ensure that gas does not migrate from the landfill to adjacent sites. Developers will usually need to obtain specialist advice in carrying out these investigations.
Flood Risk
6.13 New development should not be located where the risks of flooding are unacceptable. The Ribble Estuary has been identified by the Environment Agency as an area where there is a risk, but the City Council is advised that the existing flood banks are adequate. New development may still take place, therefore although its design should be such as to reduce the potential for damage from floods.
6.14 It is also important that there must be no increase in rates of surface water run-off to both the Savick Brook and Sharoe Brook catchments, because this could result in localised flooding further downstream. The Environment Agency has stressed the importance of ensuring that run-off from the industrial sites at Red Scar must not exceed existing levels to prevent the risk of flooding elsewhere.
Policy DP3 Development and Flood Risk
Development in areas at risk from flooding (including tidal inundation) will be permitted only where appropriate flood alleviation measures already exist or will be provided by the developer.
In other areas development that will generate increased rates of surface water run-off will only be permitted where there will be no adverse impact, for example an increased risk of flooding, river channel instability or damage to natural habitats.
Developers will be expected to submit assessments of the impact of the development on surface water drainage systems and include proposals for mitigation works and their long-term maintenance, where these are required.
6.15 The Council will consult closely with the Environment Agency on proposals in areas where there is a risk of flooding. Where appropriate developers will be required to provide flood banks or other alleviation measures, either through planning conditions or planning obligations.
6.16 Local plans are required to make realistic provision for the types of industry or facility which may be detrimental to amenity or conservation interests. To this end, Policy W2 (Existing Business and Industrial Areas) directs those industrial uses which may be potentially polluting (category E7, Policy W2) towards the Red Scar employment area. The policy below complements Policy W2 by setting out the criteria by which planning applications for potentially polluting development may be determined. The policy will also ensure that housing and other developments sensitive to pollution are kept apart from existing potentially polluting uses.
Policy DP4 Development and Pollution
Potentially polluting industrial and waste development and hazardous installations will not be permitted within, or in close proximity to, existing and proposed residential, educational, institutional, recreational, major retail developments and within, or in close proximity to, environmentally sensitive sites.
Any permission will be dependent on the applicant demonstrating that adequate provision has been made to restore the land to standards sufficient for an appropriate after use.
New residential, educational, institutional, recreational and major retail developments will not be located within the vicinity of, or encroach upon, existing polluting or potentially polluting industrial and waste development and hazardous installations.
6.17 In implementing this policy the Council will consult with the relevant pollution control agencies. The Council will require that the necessary environmental information be collected and made available by applicants so that a proper judgement can be made on a planning application.
6.18 The location of sites requiring consent under the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 1992 will be subject to planning controls aimed at keeping these separated from housing and other land uses with which such sites might be incompatible from the safety viewpoint. To this end, the Council as local planning authority will seek the advice of the Health and Safety Executive about off-site risks to the public arising from any proposed development which could introduce one or more hazardous substances.
Hazardous Installations
6.19 The area covered by the Local Plan already contains a number of hazardous substances sites and high-pressure natural gas transmission pipelines. Whilst they are subject to stringent controls under existing health and safety legislation, it is considered prudent to control the kinds of development permitted in the vicinity of these sites. In determining whether or not to grant planning permission for a proposed development on land which is in the vicinity of one of these sites, the Council will take account of advice from the Health and Safety Executive about risks to the proposed development from hazardous substances sites.
Policy DP5 Hazardous Installations
In determining whether or not to grant planning permission for a proposed development on land which is in the vicinity of hazardous substances sites, high pressure natural gas transmission pipelines or major accident hazard pipelines, the Council will take account of advice from the Health and Safety Executive about the nature and severity of the risk of harm to people at the proposed development from hazardous substances sites and activities at the hazardous installations.
6.20 The Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 (as amended by the Planning (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Regulations 1999), states that land use policies should control:
  • the location of new establishments at which hazardous substances are present or are likely to be present;
  • modifications at existing establishments where hazardous substances are present; and,
  • new developments in the vicinity of existing establishments where hazardous substances are present.
6.21 It also requires that land use policies take account of the need in the long term, to maintain appropriate distances between establishments where hazardous substances are present and residential areas, areas of public use and areas of particular natural sensitivity or interest.
6.22 To this end, the Council as local planning authority will seek the advice of the Health and Safety Executive.