Managing contaminated land on eroding coastlines

10th April 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Central government ,
  • Construction ,
  • Waste ,
  • Consultancy ,
  • Stewardship



CIRIA and Royal HaskoningDHV introduce their new guidance on the management of landfill sites and land contamination on eroding or low-lying coastlines

There are hundreds of sites around the UK’s coasts and estuaries that have been used for landfill and other industrial practices. Many sites are now disused, often re-landscaped and openly accessible to the public.

The effects of coastal erosion, landslips and sea flooding can release material from some of these sites. These materials can then be deposited on the foreshore or seep into the marine environment. This release of landfill waste, and other industrial contaminants, can impact on public health and cause physical, chemical and biological impacts on the natural environment.

Royal HaskoningDHV has recently produced a key piece of guidance with CIRIA (the construction industry research and information association) on the management of landfill sites and land contamination on eroding coastlines.

The guidance is aimed at local authorities, coastal managers, landfill operators and waste regulators, and deals with the emerging issue of managing historic or operational landfill sites and other areas of land contamination in locations affected by marine or terrestrial flooding and/or coastal or fluvial erosion.

The guidance provides a step–by-step approach to identifying a problem; characterising a site; assessing the risks; appraising and selecting appropriate management options; delivering solutions; and monitoring performance.

It draws on case studies from around the UK, including Trow Quarry in Tyne and Wear and Spittles Lane in West Dorset.

In addition to the operational issues presented by ongoing or imminent coastal erosion or sea flooding, the guidance also considers longer-term strategic issues.

In some cases, the presence of landfills or legacy industrial sites may affect, or be affected by, strategic coastal management policies set for the future. For example, it may be necessary to continue to provide coastal defences along a particular frontage because an historic landfill is present.

Alternatively, management policy made elsewhere along adjacent frontages may have a knock-on effect on frontages containing landfill or historic legacy sites. These issues need to be addressed through the early and active involvement of those responsibile for managing such sites in strategic coastal management planning. This will ensure that the risks posed by such sites are fully understood, that appropriate actions are taken and that coastal management decision-making is influenced in a proactive manner.

As with many construction industry projects, identifying and engaging key stakeholders, such as site owners, developers, regulatory bodies, statutory consultees, technical and legal advisors, communities and interest groups, is an essential part of progressing a solution to any risk.

Consideration of how and when to engage these stakeholders is important at the outset of any project.

CIRIA C718: Guidance on the management of landfill sites and land contamination on eroding or low-lying coastlines is available from

Contact: Ruth Tyson, senior environmental consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV, for more details ([email protected]) or [email protected]


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close