Borough Council of Wellingborough

Contaminated land


There is a legacy of previously used land within the area, often termed brown field land, which could pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment. 

The Council has powers to deal with Contaminated Land under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Council has published a Contaminated Land Strategy which provides information on how it deals with this issue. This document can be obtained by contacting the Environmental Protection Team.

In addition much potentially contaminated land is dealt with through the planning application process. Recent planning policy advice is that information on potential contamination is now required for all sensitive developments such as new houses, schools etc. 

Information to planning applicants is contained in a leaflet Contaminated Land Requirements for Planning Applicants and in more comprehensive Contaminated Land a Guide for Developers and Advisors


Last updated 22/03/2010

Naturally occurring arsenic

In Wellingborough and further afield the natural strata in some areas is Northampton Sand with ironstone which may contain elevated levels of naturally occurring arsenic. Information on this subject is contained in the leaflet Naturally Occurring Arsenic. The Council has spent considerable resources and effort to research this subject. In particular this has lead to advise A Guide for Developers and Their Advisors on Risk Assessments for Naturally Occurring Arsenic in the Wellingborough Area, which may be of interest to developers of housing schemes.

We have also produced an information sheet for users of allotments in the Wellingborough area.

The Borough Council of Wellingborough approach to the presence of naturally occurring arsenic in the area.

There is significant evidence that areas of Wellingborough sited on the Northampton Sand Formation geology will contain levels of arsenic above the current UK government Soil Guideline Values.

In accordance with government policy the Council will require an assessment of arsenic levels in planning applications on sites located upon the Northampton Sand Formation.

Where a site specific risk assessment exhibits that unacceptable risks to health may exist suitable remediation will be required.

For the majority of residential premises lying upon the Northampton Sand strata the risk of adverse effects from naturally occurring arsenic is considered very low. This is due to many factors including the small size or absence of gardens, the prevalence of hard-surfacing in terrace housing areas and the limited popularity of vegetable growing. These factors make the current growing and consumption scenarios in CLEA over-conservative and unrealistic in these cases.

No population health effects have been identified by the Health Protection Agency (formerly the Northamptonshire Health Authority) related to arsenic in this area although no specific research is believed to have been carried out.

The Council considers it appropriate to provide advice in the form of leaflets to householders and allotment holders on this subject. The advice is given on a precautionary basis and the potential for significant unacceptable risks to health can only be identified on an individual site assessment .This would need to include site data and the detailed examination of the growing and consumption scenarios included in current government guidance.