Contaminated Land: What is it Good For?
The Anthropocene is defined by humanity’s ability to be a permanent geological agent. Historic industrial activities, waste management practices, war and accidents have left a chemical fingerprint on soil and in groundwater that can occasionally threaten the well-being of humans and parts of the eco-system. However over the past 5 decades we have developed the ability to characterise, assess and where necessary mitigate the risks posed by such chemically challenged land.
Preventing new contamination is the starting point. Dealing with contemporary situations posing significant possibilities of significant harm to human health or the environment is a task for Local Authorities. Ensuring that land is suitable for new development is addressed through the planning system. Virtually no land is so impacted that it must be discarded from any further use. Most land can be remediated where it makes environmental, social and economic sense to do so.
Environmental geoscientists are at the core of these activities and are key members of the multi-disciplinary teams helping ensure land affected by contamination is safe. Case studies, all published, show how risk based land management can be achieved and thereby contribute to smart and perhaps even sustainable urban land management.
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Speaker: Paul Nathanail (Land Quality Management Ltd & University of Nottingham)
Paul Nathanail is Professor of Engineering Geology at the University of Nottingham. He is also the managing director of Land Quality Management Ltd.
He is internationally known for his applied research, vocational training and specialist consultancy work. He represents the Geological Society on the Specialist in Land Condition (SiLC) Register technical panel. He is a member of Defra’s expert panel on contaminated land. He is currently leading an ISO working group on sustainable remediation. He is also leading an IAEG working group on the engineering geology of risk based land management.