About contaminated land

Many areas in Brent have an industrial or commercial past which may have made the land unsuitable for some uses.

Developers and land owners (sometimes including previous land owners), are required to ensure that land is safe for intended use, especially if we have identified it as being potentially contaminated.

If you plan to buy a house on land with an industrial past use, there might be contamination present in the ground.

Our Contaminated Land strategy outlines how Brent Council deals with contaminated land in the area. It details how we identify and prioritise sites for further investigation, and includes information on clean up (also known as remediation), liability and enforcement.


Common questions

What advice can you give about contaminated land? 

We can give advice about a new development, redevelopment or change of use on land that may have been affected by contamination by a former industrial or agricultural use.

Contamination issues can be complicated and could have a major impact on your development.

Please contact us as early as possible if you have any questions. We cannot act as consultants on your development, for example by interpreting facts or advice.

How do I request information about a site?

Legally you can request information about contaminated land from us.

This service is often used by environmental consultants, solicitors and home buyers and we may charge for this information. If the information is sensitive, we will ask the owners of the land for permission to release the information to you.

We offer three tiers of searches for which a fee is payable:

  • Basic enquiry
  • Residential property search
  • Commercial property search

For more information about what we offer and the fee payable, contact us on 0208 937 5252 or email ens.monitoring@brent.gov.uk. Alternatively you can complete the contaminated land search enquiry form.

Who should carry out contaminated land investigations? 

We encourage you to work with an environmental consultant. However, we can’t recommend any individuals or companies.

If you have to carry out intrusive investigations, you will also need the services of a drilling contractor and analytical laboratory.

How do I find an environmental consultant?

You must be satisfied that your consultant is suitably qualified to carry out any investigations you may need. You can do this by:

  • Checking our Statutory Planning Guidance for the minimum requirements we need from investigation reports and asking your potential consultant about the content of their reports
  • Asking to see the types of report your consultant produces

You can find contact details for environmental consultants in local trade directories, Yellow Pages and the Ends Directory.

When should contaminated land investigations be done?

You must consider contamination issues early in the development process. You must consider these issues before work begins on site. This is because the results of your investigations may affect your design features, delay the works or add to your costs.

For example, you may need to:

  • Upgrade water supply pipes
  • Install gas and vapour protection measures
  • Upgrade concrete used for foundations
  • Remove contaminated material from the site and bring in new material, for example, soil

To save time and money, these investigations are sometimes carried out at the same time as a geotechnical investigation.

Sources of further information include: