The Environment Agency (EA) has published a new user-friendly guidance document on the management of contaminated land. To comply with accessibility laws, the Land Contamination: Risk Management (LCRM) will replace the current guidance known as the Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination (CLR11).

Although the purpose and principles of the framework remains the same, the new document is a user-friendly guide that has been aimed at anyone that may need to manage or deal with land contamination, including landowners, developers, planners and regulators. The guidance is a more intuitive approach to the management of land contamination and includes up-to-date terminology to advise users on “how to assess if there's unacceptable risk, decide which options are the most suitable to manage the risk and implement remediation if needed".

The CLR11 was first published in 2004 as a research document, and was developed to provide a technical framework for applying risk management processes when dealing with contaminated land to meet the criteria outlined in British Standards (BS) 10175 (2011). The process involved identifying, making decisions on, and taking appropriate action to deal with land contamination. This guidance provided a consistence approach, which complemented government policies and UK legislation.

The Land contamination: Risk Management guidance has been designed to be accessible for both experienced and first time users and includes a helpful list of basic site details and general information required for all risk assessment reports, and useful links to relevant guidance via the CL:aire Water and Land Library. Documents linked within the report also include British Standards, and CIEH/LQM guidance.

The stages and explanation of the remediation strategy within the framework have been reviewed and simplified to form a three-stage tiered approach. This three-stage approach is as follows:

·        Stage one focuses on the three tiers of risk assessment: Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA), Generic Quantitative Risk Assessment (GQRA), and Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment (DQRA)

·        Stage two focuses on options appraisal and the three tiers to follow, including identifying feasible remediation options, doing a detailed evaluation of options, and selecting your final remediation options.

·        Stage three focuses of how to develop a remediation strategy, how to implement it and how to ensure and that the remediation has been verified, including any long term monitoring and maintenance.

The remediation process has been improved with the main emphasis being on a single remediation strategy. The new LCRM includes a remediation matrix to determine which remediation options are most appropriate and gives you remedial options depending on what contaminants are found within the soil or water.

Jake Hawkey, our Consultancy Manager states, “the new guidance has undoubtedly simplified CLR11 while keeping its principles, making the process more inclusive and accessible to a wider audience. It is refreshing to see less technical language and repetition, but retaining the technical references for competent professionals.”

The new guidance is now available online and the EA are currently seeking feedback on the technical content, structure and options appraisal applicability matrix over the next 6 months.

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