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The “contaminated land regime” is the main regulatory tool from the 1990s that has been given to enforcing authorities in the UK in order to deal with phenomenon of historical pollution. Recent figures, though, demonstrate that the majority of the contaminated sites are remediated through voluntary clean-up and via the planning system. In addition, historical pollution can be also tackled through private law remedies (such as negligence and private or public nuisance) triggered by individuals claiming damages for the injuries suffered as a consequence of the contamination . In this context, criminal law plays a very limited role. Only failing to comply with a remediation notice issued by the relevant authority under the contaminated land regime constitutes a criminal offence. However, there are no legal obstacles that prevent, at least in theory, the possibility of also applying the environmental criminal law framework to cases of historical pollution.
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- Historical Pollution in the UK (England and Wales): The Residual Role Played by Criminal Law
- Chapter 9
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