Contaminated Land

Contaminated land is land that poses a risk to people, the environment or property due to chemicals or other substances it contains, usually as the result of a former industrial use.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2000 require the Council to inspect and identify contaminated land and to ensure it is remediated where appropriate.

Land is only considered to be 'contaminated' under the legislation if:

  • it contains a source of pollution.
  • someone or something could be affected - a receptor.
  • a pathway exists between the source and receptor. These three elements together are known as a 'source - pathway - receptor' pollutant linkage.
  • The pollutant linkage is assessed to be a significant risk of significant harm.

Contaminated Land Register

The Council is required to maintain a public register of formal notices that have been served under the legislation. A summary of the register can be viewed below. The full paper copy can be viewed by appointment.

Contaminated Land Strategy

The Council's Contaminated Land Strategy is available here:

Contaminated Land and Planning

Potential land contamination is a material planning consideration. The Council has a responsibility to make sure that land is suitable for the proposed use prior to granting planning permission. All planning applications are screened for areas of land that are potentially contaminated and the contaminated land team consulted for advice.

The planning applicant is responsible for demonstrating that the site is suitable for its proposed use.

Additional information required as part of the planning process could include a site history report, ground gas monitoring, site investigations or other site specific information.  This can be submitted with your planning application or may be required as a condition on your planning consent. Where contamination is identified the site must be remediated before development to make it suitable for the proposed use.

Early engagement with the Contaminated Land team is recommended to ensure planning applications are not delayed following submission. It is particularly useful to contact us at an early stage as we may already have information on the site. This will help to ensure that your proposals are appropriate and sufficient to support your planning application.

Agricultural Buildings

Planning applicants for the conversion or development of agricultural buildings will be required to complete an initial screening form available here

Petrol stations

Advice on the decommissioning, use or development of former petrol stations is available here:


The Council is the primary regulator for contaminated land but in certain circumstances a site may be designated as a Special Site and SEPA becomes the enforcing authority.

SEPA also have a responsibility to regulate sites where there may be radioactive contamination.

The Council may consult SEPA for advice on pollution of the water environment.

Contaminated land | Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Further Guidance

Contact us at

Advice for developers Land contamination and development (

Information on the types of contamination associated with different industries DoE Industry Profiles (

Legislation, statutory guidance and planning advice notes - Planning Advice Note 33: Development of contaminated land - (

Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Part IIA Contaminated Land: statutory guidance edition 2 - (

Please note that the legislation and guidance in Scotland is not identical to that of England Wales and Northern Ireland. Developers should make sure that they are working to the appropriate set of guidelines.

Page last updated: 21/03/2023
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