Contaminated Land Advisory Group minutes: December 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the Contaminated Land Advisory Group on 4 December 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Guest representatives

  • Building Standards Hub / LABSS (BSH)
  • SEPA waste permitting team (SEPA WP)

CLAG members

  • Environmental Industries Commission (EIC)
  • Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS)
  • Scottish Pollution Control Co-ordination Committee - Local Pollution Liaison Sub-group (LPLSG) North
  • LPLSG West
  • LPLSG South and East
  • LPLSG East
  • Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS)
  • Scottish Contaminated Land Forum (SCLF)
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA)
  • Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health (SoCOEH)

Scottish government officials

  • Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division (SG-PARD)
  • Building Standards Technical Unit (SG-BSTU)
  • Environmental Quality and Resilience (SG-EQR)


  • Public Health Scotland
  • University of the West of Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome/ Introductions

Meeting minutes from 14 August 2023 confirmed (no comments), and actions from last meeting are in-hand. Terms of reference (ToR) were agreed except for required change to membership list and organisation names. A new process to finalise meeting minutes was agreed to allow them to be published before the next meeting. New membership was briefly discussed and it was agreed to circulate suggestions (Specialists in Land Contamination, and Faculty of Advocates) via e-mail. A further suggestion was to consider them for corresponding membership (or an associate membership) to keep meetings manageable.


  • SG-EQR to publish minutes on SG website
  • SG-EQR to make required changes to ToR and replace published copy on web page
  • SG-EQR to consider suggestion re associate membership and circulate membership suggestions for comment from existing members

Building Standards Discussion

Scottish Government building standards technical unit presented on work of the BSTU and draft mine gas risk assessment report by RSK (due for publication early 2024) and potential technical guidance update. 

Director of the Building Standards Hub (BSH) at LABSS, presented on the background and plans to make permanent the pilot building standards hub, how the hub works and how it can support LAs.

CLAG was asked to consider in advance of the meeting experiences of working with building standards (both positive and negative), suggestions regarding actions to improve quality and consistency across LAs regarding interactions between building standards, planning and environmental health, and thoughts on current technical handbooks guidance (Section 3.1 ‘Site preparation – harmful and dangerous substances’ ).

Following BSTU’s presentation there was general support for a working group including CLAG members to work on technical handbooks for building standards for 2025. BSTU clarified what constitutes “work” at a site – any construction process for which a warrant is required. Is there a need for better enforcement? – range of development approaches with concern around those that do not follow due process. SG are currently consulting on increasing penalties. Discussion noted resourcing pressures for enforcement work, recognised that currently silo working can hamper developer interactions and decisions. Following presentation, there was strong CLAG support for the Building Standards Hub and its role in strengthening LA interactions around planning.


  • LA reps offered to share examples on issues with Building Standards Hub
  • SG to consider training event looking at experiences and best practice after RSK report published – SCLF and REHIS both offered to support this
  • CLAG members to share written feedback with BSH and BSTU (optional). SCLF rep offered to set up Google shared doc for CLAG to add written feedback to questions should they wish to collate in advance

Waste Exemptions

A guest from SEPA’s waste permitting team presented on the current waste exemption process, changes anticipated as part of SEPA’s Integrated Authorisation Framework (IAF) and best practice to communicate concerns.

CLAG was asked in advance of the meeting to consider if they (or those groups they represent) were aware of misuse of waste exemptions, or where they had concerns of such practices. They were also asked to think about actions that could reduce the likelihood of malpractice occurring in the future. 

Access to information on exemptions was highlighted as an issue – CLOs are not necessarily responsible for this but have been aware of issues of waste removal (e.g. where LA has been developer/land-owner), and expect this may be occurring more regularly. Particular concern over removed material where destination is unknown; current system means it is difficult to check where LAs have concerns.  SEPA WP highlighted that all movements should involve waste transfer notes, and confirmed plan for digital tracking roll out which should improve the system.


  • SG to alert CLAG when IAF consultation goes live, which is further opportunity to comment on upcoming changes to waste exemption/permitting regime

LCRM working group

CLAG agreed to proposal to form a regulator-led sub group to review English LCRM and come up with a proposal for how guidance can be put in place for Scotland. Members were supportive, and it was agreed to put in place regular meetings once group formed, with ideally about 5 members, excluding SG. 

On the interim statement on LCRM, noted that reference to SEPA could be problematic for LA use, SG/SEPA agreed to revisit this.


  • SG to put out doodle poll in early 2024 for first LCRM working group meeting 
  • CLAG to extend invite to colleagues and put forward names for sub-group membership

AOB and wrap-up

CLAG members were invited to send in any other AOB by email. The date of the next meeting is to be agreed by email. SG EQR noted that the revised Groundwater Directive is likely to be published before the end of this financial year.


  • CLAG to provide feedback on meeting format etc (noting we ran short of time again this meeting)
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