Contaminated land

The contaminated land provisions of Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 were introduced on the 1 April 2000. Local authorities have a duty to inspect their areas to identify contaminated land and ensure that it is managed in an appropriate manner.

Details of this strategic work is contained within the Council’s Contaminated Land Strategy.

Trafford environmental searches and buying a home

The Pollution and Licensing section can assist you with providing the necessary information you require to complete any requirement for an environmental search.

The Council, as regulators for Contaminated Land within Trafford, hold a considerable amount of detailed information about land and properties within the borough. This includes a GIS mapping system which provides instant access to historical and present days maps with access to a library of site investigation data collected over a number of years. Information is available on closed landfill sites and permitted industrial processes.

There are competitive costs associated with undertaking searches and these are:

Land search costs
Service Description Cost 

Basic environmental search

This search will cover the footprint of your property/land only and will include former historical site usage, any known site investigations, local geology and landfills and site specific information


Extended basic environmental search (250radius)

This search will cover the detailed range of information in the basic search but will also cover a 250m radius around your property/land


Detailed environmental search

This will cover the footprint of the property/land but with a further 500m radius and identify local geology, open and closed landfills, permitted industrial process’s, contaminated land, site investigation data, historical and current site uses, known underground storage tanks, private water supplies and known pollution incidents


The Council is aware that sometimes uncertainty around Environmental Searches can create problems when purchasing properties. Read some of our more commonly asked questions or contact the team to discuss any concerns you may have.

Environmental Protection officers will be happy to discuss your requirements or you can email your request to

Guidance for developing on contaminated land

When developing land whether for commercial or domestic purposes contaminated land is a key consideration. To ensure that risks are fully assessed you will need to carry out four key investigative stages on the land to be developed. These stages are desktop assessment, detailed inspection, risk assessment and remediation. The level of investigation required will depend on the size of the site, potential contamination that may have occurred and the proposed end use of the site. If you commission an environmental search from the Council this will give you a baseline of possible environmental risk which will affect how the development will progress.

Developers are responsible for determining whether land is suitable for a particular usage. Site developers should carry out an adequate investigation to inform a risk assessment to determine:

  • Whether the land in question is already affected by contamination through source - pathway - receptor pollutant linkages and how those linkages are represented in a conceptual model.
  • Whether the development proposed will create new pollutant linkages.

Guidance is available on the requirements for developers in the Contaminated Land Strategy.

Detailed information is also available from Defra and the Environment Agency websites.

Developers should consider contacting the Council at an early stage for a pre-application discussion where possible. This will enable your requirements to be discussed and agreed at an early stage so the necessary investigations can be carried out promptly and do not delay the project.

Major projects

The Pollution and Licensing Team are actively involved in identifying areas of the Borough where remedial works are required. We have been extremely successful in securing funding for cleaning up a range of brownfield sites.

Moss View Playing Field

This field lies over a tip previously used for the deposit of gas industry waste. The works comprised of the construction of a barrier trench around the boundary of the site to prevent the migration of leachate into adjoining gardens. Landfill gas ventilation boreholes were installed and an area of heavy contamination removed. An impermeable cap consisting of a layer of clay, sand and topsoil was placed on the surface of the site to prevent infiltration of rainwater and spread of contamination off site.

Hawthorn Lane

This site is a public open space on the banks of the River Mersey. The site is an old landfill site containing domestic refuse.

Studies revealed that erosion of the landfill by the River Mersey and the potential flow of leachate from the landfill site to the River Mersey must be controlled. To address these issues material from the river bank was excavated to make space for river bank protection works. The river bank protection works included a reinforced soil bund, gabion mattresses and rip rap at river level. Perimeter drains were put into collect the leachate.