Delay looms for public registers of contaminated land

The Department of the Environment's plans to establish public registers of potentially contaminated land appear to have hit a serious obstacle. Regulations to establish the registers may now be delayed by the run-up to the general election, and could be lost altogether if Environment Ministers lack the stomach to carry the initiative through against objections from landowners and property developers.

Provision to establish the registers was made in section 143 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The DoE's plans for implementing section 143, unveiled in a consultation paper last summer, would make local authorities responsible for identifying sites on which activities prescribed in regulations as "contaminative" uses of land have been or are being carried out. Information on these sites was to have been entered on registers which were

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