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In the first of a special two part blog, we will review the contaminated land regime and how Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 has been managed in practice, through the lens of some specific examples. It highlights how the noble intentions of rooting out the worst offenders has been blunted over time and that the planning processes have become the mechanism driving remediation in many council teams.

Sandiacre Gas Works site in Erewash Derbyshire is a typical industrial brownfield plot, located on the site of a small, former gas works commissioned by Terrah Hooley, a fraudster and developer of the first industrial estate. The gas works were built in 1888 to supply gas lighting to Hooley’s adjoining Springfield Mill lace factory, a part of the ever expanding Nottingham lace industry.

The Mill was to the south east of the gas works in Sandiacre Parish next to the River Erewash which was diverted for the benefit of the Mill and made the development into something of an island formed between the canal and the river. As part of development of the gas works, Hooley agreed that it would supply coal gas to 50 street lamps in the local area, on the condition that the local council provided funds for the gas.

Two street lamps remain to this day, as does the Mill, which is a Grade II listed building which has been converted into impressive apartments. Historical records show that the gas works were operated from at least 1899 to 1901, and it should be noted that certain gas works features can be observed as still being present on site as late as 1924. Specific details on the exact operational period of the gas works site are, however, limited.