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

£85 per hour officer time

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

£85 per hour officer time

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

£85 per hour officer time

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.

National guidance is available on the requirements for developers  for Land Contamination Risk Management.

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.