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Inspection strategies are overdue

We are now nine months into the Part IIA regime in England and six months in Scotland. The regime should come into force in Wales in spring next year. A handful of sites have been designated as Part IIA Contaminated Land. To date, the Environment Agency has one special site on its books, although a few others are likely to be designated in the coming weeks.

While some local authorities have completed draft inspection strategies others have barely got off the starting blocks.

All have found a DETR advice note containing a checklist to confirm conformity with Part IIA, Circular 2/2000 and the statutory guidance of great help. Several local authorities are pooling resources either by sharing the costs of commissioning outside help or by sharing out the drafting of non-authority-specific sections of the text.

Publication date of the Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) model and associated CLR 10, CLR 10 GV, CLR 9 and CLR 9 TOX reports is now being predicted as next spring, following successful completion of the audit of the CLEA software. In the meantime the SNIFFER (Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research) framework for deriving numeric targets for contaminated soil to protect human health, which has drawn on much of the research underlying CLEA, has become one of FWR's best sellers since its publication earlier this year.

A paper at the Consoil conference in September describes recent research in the Netherlands on intervention values for cyanide and highlights the pragmatic approach the Dutch have to selecting such values when the calculated values are deemed to be politically or economically unacceptable.

The English translation of the circular on target values and intervention values for soil remediation is available at: www. minvrom. nl/minvrom/docs/bodem. This describes the currently valid Dutch target and intervention values, including their purpose and the way they should be used within the Dutch regulatory framework.

Guidance from DETR on asbestos and manmade mineral fibres in buildings is available at www.environment.detr.gov.uk/asbestos/guide/index.htm. Asbestos was used widely in building materials, insulation and household products until the mid 1970s.

Asbestos fibres are found throughout the environment and everyone is exposed to very low levels every day.

The higher fibre levels that may occur in buildings which contain asbestos pose risks that are considered to be very small indeed provided the materials are undamaged, are not disturbed, and are managed to ensure that they remain so.An isolated accidental exposure to asbestos fibres of short duration is extremely unlikely to result in the development of an asbestos-related disease.

An international conference, Protecting Groundwater, is being convened by the Environment Agency in association with the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on 4 and 5 October 2001.

The conference will explore the application of policies and decision-making tools to land-use planning (www. environment-agency. gov. uk /gwcl/ConfMain. htm).Abstracts are welcome until the end of December 2000.

The Environment Agency has also launched an initiative to increase awareness of oil contamination and its consequences in an attempt to reduce pollution. The Oil care code (www. environment-agency.

gov. uk/envinfo/oilcare/index.htm) contains simple guidance on preventing spills and leaks as well as proper distribution, delivery, storage, and disposal.

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