B5.3 Contaminated Land


Contaminated land is defined as:

“Any area which appears to the local authority to be in such a condition, by reason of substances in, on or under the land that  

a) Significant harm is being caused, or there is a significant possibility of such harm being caused, or 

b) Significant pollution of controlled waters is being, or is likely to be, caused.”

 Source: Section 78A(2) of Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

© Crown Copyright


DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) describe ‘harm’ as

  • Harm to the health of living organisms.
  • Other interference with the ecological systems of which they form part.
  • Harm to property.


DEFRA have created a document “Guidance on the Legal Definition of Contaminated Land”, which is available for you to download here: B5 – DEFRA contaminated land