Weak spots in proposals on radioactively contaminated land

Proposals for a new regime to deal with radioactively contaminated land were set out in a consultation paper by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions on 26 February.1 Its most controversial features are a proposal to apply less stringent dose limits than normal for protecting people occupying radioactively polluted sites, and a risk-based regime for water pollution which is weaker than that for non-radioactively contaminated sites.

The proposals are modelled broadly on the regime for identifying and apportioning liability for remediation of non-radioactively contaminated sites provided for by the Environment Act 1995. This is still not in force, and the Government announced in December that a decision when to implement it will be made after the comprehensive spending review is completed in the summer. The earliest likely implementation date is April 1999 (ENDS Report 276

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