CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Clean-up of pollution is massive world market
Clean-up of pollution is massive world marketKeywords: Pollution, Environment, Legislation
Environmental contamination is a gigantic, world-wide problem. Its diagnosis, clean-up and management are already a massive world market which is expected to continue its rapid growth.
The increased awareness of land contamination means that it is one of the biggest issues currently facing industry generally and the property business in particular. In the UK alone there have been four bills in the last decade, aimed at cleaning up land and water resources – the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Water Industry Act 1991, the Water Resources Act 1991, and the Environment Act 1995.
From April 2000, part 2a of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 was implemented. This requires local authorities to take positive measures to ensure that contamination problems are dealt with.
Legislation here and abroad places a heavy burden on industrial users to prevent and contain pollution. Unlimited fines, and even jail sentences of up to two years, can be imposed. In the USA failure to report contamination to the relevant authorities can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day.
This means there is a growing commercial prerogative for organisations to establish if contamination is present on their land, quantify it and, if necessary, put in place a strategy for its clean-up.
Under increasing pressure to preserve the green belts and the countryside, the UK Government is stepping up its quotas for the development of so-called "brownfield" sites land in existing built-up areas, much of which has been polluted by previous occupiers.
The Government has recently committed £50 million towards inspection and clean-up enforcement through local authorities.
Further afield, eastern European countries, currently seeking membership of the EU, will be required to meet the environmental standards of existing members.
Facts and figures
At the last estimate in 1993, nearly 40,000 hectares of land in England were said to be contaminated. Of these 5,243 hectares were in inner city areas, 15,236 in other urban locations and 19,123 in rural areas.
There are an estimated 14,400 hectares of vacant or derelict land in Scotland. This is contained in some 6,000 separate sites and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency believes that "many of these sites may have accumulations of soils contaminated with toxic chemicals".
In Wales, the majority of the estimated 7,000 hectares of contaminated land are associated with the coal mining industry.
In Germany has been estimated that there is a total of 120,000 sites in need of restoration, of which 10 per cent require urgent treatment at a cost of $20 billion.
The Netherlands has registered 6,000 sites as severely-polluted and an approximate estimate of the clean-up costs is between $30 and $60 billion.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the annual market for soil remediation in the year 2000 will be up to $28.5 billion. Of this, it predicts that $9 billion will be for the EU, $4 billion in Japan and $15.5 billion in the USA.
In Europe, as a whole, the OECD estimates that up to 60,000 sites require urgent restoration.
In the USA it is estimated that there are around half a million brownfield sites, of which more than 100,000 are severely contaminated.
For further information: Ken McEwen, The PR Partnership. Tel: +44 (0) 1224 588900.