Contaminated Land Advisory Group minutes: August 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 14 August 2023.

Attendees and apologies

External attendees

  • Local Pollution Liaison (Contaminated Land) Sub-groups (LPLSG) – Central and West
  • LPLSG –  Central and East
  • LPLSG – North
  • LPLSG – South and East
  • Environmental Industries Commission (EIC)
  • Law Society Scotland (LSS)
  • University of the West of Scotland (UWS)
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency - SEPA
  • Public Health Scotland
  • Scottish Pollution Control Co-ordinating Committee/ Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (SPCCC/ REHIS)
  • Scottish Contaminated Land Forum (SCLF)
  • Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SOBRA)
  • Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS)

Scottish Government officials from the following divisions

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

Items and actions

Planning, NPF4 and PAN 33

The group received a presentation from Scottish Government’s Planning, Architecture and Regeneration Division (PARD) which outlined the newly adopted National Planning Framework 4 (Feb 2023, NPF4) and local development planning guidance (May 2023), with discussion around the use and review of Planning Advice Note (PAN) 33 and how the contaminated land community (particularly local authorities) engage on development of local development plans and as part of development management. Key takeaways included:

  • PAN 33 does not have an ‘expiry date’ and can continue to be used. While due a refresh the document is not likely to be formally reviewed in coming years. However, chief planner has formally committed to updating all PANs in due course
  • group agreed that while some aspects of PAN33 need development/updating, the document as a whole is still of use and important to ensure contaminated land is dealt with during planning. Examples of areas that could be improved included reference to climate change and sustainability, future-proofing, improving links to the water environment. The interplay around PAN33 and NPF4 was discussed
  • discussion around incentivising CL remediation through planning e.g. through wording in PAN33, making benefits more tangible and measurable, removing potential policy barriers.
  • consideration of options to provide an intermediate update or to review PAN33 as a group to have information ready for when official review process can begin. For example, options could  be explored of an accompanying position statement or policy addendum
  • Local Authorities CLOs have varying interaction with Local Development Plans. Agreed that a further discussion specifically around Local Development Plans and making use of new evidence reports could be helpful
  • most LAs have a close working relationship with their planners and tend to interact well. There are however differences on when, and at what stage, Environmental Health engage.
  • the relationship with building standards is more varied with some LAs interacting well and others finding it challenging. Building standards comms to be discussed at a future CLAG meeting


  • local authority LPLSG representatives (or anyone else who wishes to) – to share written answers to questions with SG PARD and EQR colleagues where available

  • SG PARD to share letter from Chief Planning Officer regarding PAN update commitment

  • SG PARD to share an outline of the general process of updating PANs

  • SG PARD/EQR – to explore potential options for adding key information in the short term

Prioritisation and work-plan

The group worked in small groups to discuss priority topics for the CLAG to work on in the near future, focusing on key tasks and constructive deliverable outputs where possible. A group discussion aimed to separate topics into those where we have a clear understanding of what needs to be done (NOW), and those where further exploration is needed (HOW).

  • one key priority identified was that of the application of LCRM in Scotland – the group agreed it would be helpful to set up a group (sub-group to CLAG?) to review the document and clarify use of the document in Scotland (including where legislation / guidance differs)
  • agreed to have further discussion specifically around Human Health Risk Assessment during a CLAG meeting soon, including considering outcomes of previous research commissioned by the group
  • a number of points relating to building standards were raised – including potential action for CLAG to review building standards guidance, communications between building standards, planners and environmental health teams, verification reports. It was agreed that a separate discussion around building standards would be helpful
  • CLAG remit – there are other groups (e.g. SoBRA) doing specific risk assessment or working on guidance on very specific issues. CLAG should not duplicate or reinvent this, but have a broader policy focus


  • all to check the virtual workspace (shared separately) to see if they agree that this reflects the discussion and follow up with any points they wish to add/change

  • SG EQR to draft an agenda for the next meeting and consider this exercise in developing a work plan for the group

  • SG EQR to provide update on progress/timescales of key reports/directions at next meeting

Logistics and future meetings arrangements

A brief discussion around frequency and logistics of future meetings:

  • no requested amendments to the terms of reference for the group (except adjusting names in membership), but members can provide further feedback ahead of next meeting before confirming
  • agreement that future meetings of the full CLAG should be held at 6-month intervals, alternating between in-person and hybrid meetings. Working groups or specific sub-groups will probably meet more frequently once specific work is under way and will feed back into the wider group
  • however, to maintain momentum, the group agreed that the next full meeting should be held before Christmas
  • agreement that SG is to continue co-ordination and secretariat function of the group


  • SG EQR to share doodle poll to agree date of next meeting in November/December (online) and to share draft agenda.
  • all to follow up with any further feedback on terms of reference ahead of the next meeting 
  • all to consider whether the group (or individual working groups) may benefit from further organisations being represented
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