Contaminated land is land that contains substances in, on, or under it and which is causing unacceptable risks to human health or to the wider environment. Because of the long history of industrial activities throughout the UK, many sites have been affected by contamination. Examples of these industries include mining, manufacturing, chemical processing, fuel storage and waste disposal.
Over a period of time, any such activity has the potential to contaminate land to some extent. However, the mere presence of contamination on land does not necessarily mean there is a problem. There has to be a contaminant-pathway-receptor linkage in place before the risk needs to be considered as being unacceptable or not.