Contaminated Land and the Planning Process

​​​​​​ ​​​The National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (the NEPM) sets out a framework for assessment of contamination and the risk to human health and the environment, and the methods for managing contamination. The NEPM has effect as a State Policy in Tasmania under Section 12A of the State Policies and Projects Act 1993.

Principle 5 of the NEPM states that [planning] authorities 'that consent to developments, or changes in land use, should ensure a site that is being considered for development or a change in land use, and that the authorities ought reasonably know if it has a history of use that is indicative of potential contamination, is suitable for its intended use.'​

The Land Use and Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) requires, under Section 12B(4)(b) that Tasmanian Planning Policies must be consistent with relevant State Policies. 

The EPA has assisted the Tasmanian Planning Commission to develop a Statewide C14.0 Potentially Contaminated Land Code ('the Code'); the purpose of the Code is to ensure that use or development of potentially contaminated land does not adversely impact on human health or the environment. The Code forms part of the State Planning Provisions but has no practical effect until a Local Provisions Schedule (LPS) is in effect for a Municipal area. The Code can be obtained from the State Planning Provisions document. The LPS approval process has been commenced in most Municipal areas and completed in a few. See the Tasmanian Planning Commission website for information on completed LPS processes - Current assessments and hearings.

Where a Planning Authority is considering an application in relation to known or potentially contaminated land, the applicant may be required to complete an assessment and/or undertake remediation and/or management measures to demonstrate the site is suitable for its intended use. Guidance in relation to the Potentially Contaminated Land Code is under development; in the interim, note the following:

  • An environmental site assessment to satisfy P1 of the Development or Use Standards in the Code must be complete​​d by a site contamination practitioner who is certified as defined in C14.3 of the Code. The certification scheme endorsed by the Director is explained here - Engaging a contaminated site assessment consultant.​

  • Where A1 of the Development or Use Standards in the Code is to be satisfied by certification by “a person approved by the Director for the purpose of this Code”, this is defined in the Code as meaning a Contaminated Land Auditor accredited under an interstate scheme. Applications are to be made to the Director by Auditors who wish to be approved for this purpose. Please ring the Contaminated Land and Waste Section to discuss the process.

  • Where A1 of the Development or Use Standards in the Code is planned to be satisfied by certification by “the Director” please note that this would only occur in exceptional circumstances and contact with the Director would need to be made prior to commencement of assessment works.

  • Where an exemption from the Code is sought under C14.4.1(d) this would only be issued by the Director in exceptional circumstances. Contact should be made with one of the other parties specified in the Code as able to provide this exemption documentation.

  • Where a site is being assessed in accordance with the Code and contamination is identified outside the land boundaries of the site under assessment, this may need to be notified to the Director under s74B of EMPCA. See Notification of a Contaminated Site.