The Environment Agency has three distinct roles within the remediation process. The first relates to its duties under the Contaminated Land regime, as the lead regulator for Special Sites under Part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, where it has an overarching role in overseeing the successful remediation (clean up) of the site.
The second relates to being a statutory consultee for the remediation works under the planning regime, where it provides technical expertise into the planning process to advise the local planning authority when desired level of remediation has been achieved to protect controlled waters (groundwater and surface waters).
The third relates to its responsibility for regulating the conditions set out in the Environmental Permit for the site. The remediation work is being carried out under the conditions of this permit and the terms detailed in the site-specific deployment form, which states how the licence conditions will be complied with. Environment officers inspect the operations on site to ensure that all activities are in compliance with these requirements.
The Environment Agency will also respond to environmental incidents related to the site including reports of excessive emissions or odour nuisance from the site.
South Cambridgeshire District Council
South Cambridgeshire District Council have the responsibility of identifying any land in its district that it considers to be contaminated under Part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Due to the risk posed to the groundwater and nearby watercourses, the former Bayer site was determined as Contaminated Land in 2003 and designated a Special Site for regulation by the Environment Agency.
Local Planning Authority
The site is also being taken forward for redevelopment and South Cambridgeshire District Council have responsibility, as the Local Planning Authority, for regulating the planning conditions set out in the planning permissions. There are two planning consents granted in February 2010 for this site: the first granting permission for the remediation works and the second granting permission for residential and mixed use development of the site, subject to it being remediated to a standard suitable for these uses.
The documents submitted as part of the remediation application include a detailed Remediation Method Statement that sets out exactly how the remediation will be carried out and the type of monitoring that will be taking place. Officers within the Council visit the site on a regular basis to ensure that the remediation works are being carried out in accordance with the remediation planning consent.
Health and Environmental Services also has responsibility under Part III of the EPA 1990, as local authority SCDC has a duty to inspect its area from time to time to detect any statutory nuisances and to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to investigate any complaint of a statutory nuisance made by a person living within its area. Where SCDC is satisfied of the existence or the likely occurrence or recurrence of statutory nuisance it must generally serve an abatement notice in accordance with section 80(2) of the EPA 1990. This may be served upon the person responsible for the nuisance.
However, where a complaint of or statutory nuisance arises from the operation of a "regulated" facility the local authority will have to consider the provisions of section 79(10) when discharging its duties under the EPA 1990. This prevents the local authority from instituting summary proceedings in respect of nuisance without prior consent of the Secretary of State.
South Cambridgeshire District Council's Health and Environmental Services are also working closely with the Environment Agency and Health Protection Agency to respond to and address the concerns of nearby residents.