The Government believes contaminated land to be "an archetypal example of our failure in the past to move towards sustainable development". The first priority has therefore been specified as the prevention of new contamination via the pollution control regimes.
Secondly there are three stated objectives underlying the suitable for use approach as follows:
- to identify and remove unacceptable risks to human health and the environment;
- to seek to bring damaged land back into beneficial use;
- and to seek to ensure that the cost burdens faced by individuals, companies and society as a whole are proportionate, manageable and economically sustainable.
The suitable for use approach recognises that risk can only be satisfactorily assessed in the context of a specific use with the aim of maintaining an acceptable level of risk at minimum cost, thereby, "not disturbing social, economic and environmental priorities".