Contaminated land

In parts of Hackney the land and water beneath our feet has become contaminated largely as a result of:

  • current and past commercial and residential uses
  • successive phases of development, redevelopment and maintenance
  • transport emissions
  • events such as the Blitz bombing of the Second World War

About a quarter of the borough’s land has been associated with uses that could have resulted in contamination. Like many other urban areas, due to the extent that Hackney’s land has been used through the ages, most soil and much of the shallow groundwater in the borough is impacted to some extent. As a result, it’s common to find higher levels of lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (a component of ash) and asbestos in soils in Hackney, than in rural areas. The levels of these and other substances may be harmful in only a small proportion of cases.

We address contaminated land issues as they occur, largely through the planning process and statutory regimes for contaminated land and environmental damage. However, we also want to empower residents, schools, allotment holders and businesses to take action by providing clear information and guidance.

Contaminated land – planning and building

The planning process is the main way in which contaminated land and potentially contaminated land is investigated and remediated in Hackney. This helps ensure that new developments are suitable for use and that land is not harming the environment. Contaminated land – planning and building.

The contaminated land regime

Statutory contaminated land is land that meets the definition of contaminated land set out within Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Contaminated land regime.

Advice, guidance and searches

The following guidance is aimed at residents, allotment holders, schools and businesses:

Environmental search – contaminated land

See our guidance for information on how to obtain free information using MapHackney and this website.

Charges for undertaking searches and collating information are currently:

  • environmental search using search guidance – no charge
  • environmental search – £140
  • collating information – usually free but where a significant amount of information is available charges will be £140 with possible additional charges for printing and scanning
  • reviewing Part 2A investigation proposals and investigation information – currently no charge

Please note that information obtained through a paid search will normally be identical to the information that can be obtained for free using the search guidance. We would therefore suggest that you obtain the information yourself at no cost using this guidance.

Report contaminated land

You can report a contaminated land issue using the form below, or by contacting us directly.

Report contaminated land

Page updated on: 16 September 2019

Land, Air, Water


PO Box 70210
E8 9FB


Opening times

  • Monday-Friday 9am-4pm. Please contact us to book an appointment.