agb Environmental were interested to read that The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has issued it’s position following Defra’s C4SLs findings.
The Category 4 Screening Levels have been developed to help assess the risk posed by contaminants in the soil, yet have now been challenged due to the suggested conflict with existing Soil Guideline Values (SGV), which have been adopted for use in the UK planning system.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health issued a statement about its doubts for the need of the C4SL values:
“Billed originally as coarse screening values for use in the context of Part 2A [referring to Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act, rather than the Town and Country Planning Act], we expressed doubts to Defra at the need for such values, and the effort and money being put into them.
“The release of the project’s outputs have since only confirmed our concerns, with the admission by Defra that ‘…Category 4 Screening Levels could be used under the planning regime…’ and it is now clear that they are intended primarily to be used to define the limits of necessary remediation in the course of the redevelopment of contaminated sites.”
Defra admits that the new C4SL values are higher than SGVs, and developers have been warned to caution the expectation that soil can have greater levels of contamination when using the new system, however the CIEH does not believe the C4SL values to be precautionary enough.
Alex Brearley, Managing Director says: “The CIEH is a body that has the ear of many, if not most, Local Authorities, and so this challenge to the C4SLs comes with some weight. We therefore need to tread carefully, focusing on the core principles of contaminated land assessment to guide us.
“Fortunately, our team of experienced professionals has been maintaining a close eye on these developments, placing agb Environmental in a strong position to support our clients.”
agb Environmental continues to advise caution in using the C4SLs as a simple replacement to SGVs, however, using the C4SLs as a ‘line of evidence’ continues to be the way forward. agb Environmental has had several positive discussions with Local Authorities over this approach, and plans to continue on this basis.
For more information regarding issues surrounding contaminated land, please contact Alex Brearley on 01638 663226.