ESI Consulting Ltd

Huntingdonshire district council risk assessment


Courtesy of ESI Consulting Ltd

Client: Huntingdonshire District Council
Location: St Neots, Cambridgeshire
Services: Site investigation, controlled waters risk assessment, contaminated land risk assessment 
Issues: Planning consent granted subject to contaminated land issues

Summary: Planning consent was granted for a residential development subject to additional contaminated land investigations. ESI reviewed the previous investigation and showed that the Environment Agency’s Remedial Targets Methodology was a more appropriate approach to risk assessment. ESI’s recommended methodology was then the basis for decisions on further costly site investigations or undertaking appropriate risk assessments.

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is the planning authority for the Island Site at Little Paxton, St Neots, Cambridgeshire which lies within the River Great Ouse.

Planning consent for the development of the Island Site as residential housing with 135 dwellings was granted on 14 December 2001, subject to a number of conditions set by the Environment Agency, including a request to carry out an investigation of contamination issues to identify the extent of contamination and the measures to be taken to avoid risk to the public/buildings/environment when the site is developed.

A previous site investigation acknowledged that some contamination that could present a risk existed in the Made Ground, and consequently recommended that certain areas should be excavated and removed in order to reduce risks to end users and to protect the environment. However, a number of critical data deficiencies and contradictions in the case resulted in uncertainties in the reliability of the conclusions previously made.

ESI recommended that the Remedial Targets Methodology was a suitable and valid approach to re-address the contamination issues at the Island Site, and was consistent with current good practice in the industry. By seeking a consensus on the nature and extent of the problem through communication of a sound conceptual model, ESI was able to recommend that this methodology should be the basis upon which the decision to employ further costly investigation work or undertake an appropriate risk assessments be made.

ESI is recognised as a UK centre of excellence for groundwater modelling, and is contracted by both public and private organisations to carry out similar work.

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