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New standard to reduce contamination risk from ground gases

17 May 2013

BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, has published a new standard that will help to reduce the potential risks to people, buildings and the general environment from contaminated land and “brownfield” sites where toxic ground gases exist. Emissions from these sites during redevelopment have to be monitored properly to ensure they meet UK regulations for safety.

Inadequate investigation for ground gas is likely to result in refusal of planning permission or at least delays in obtaining permission.

BS 8576 Guidance on investigations for ground gas will enable this investigation process. The standard provides guidance on ground gases, volatile organic compounds and permanent gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and oxygen. It is intended for use with BS 10175 Investigations of potentially contaminated sites - Code of practice.

Some of the key features of the standard include:
*A framework for assessing development sites and the risks posed by gassing sites (areas where ground gases are present) to neighbouring land and developments 
*Guidance to investigations of gases under part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Damage Regulations 
*For clarity and time-saving, text is provided in a combined format especially in areas where two or more common issues and the approach to investigating them occurs together 

BS 8576 has been created through the collaboration of experts within the field such as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Environment Agency and the Institution of Civil Engineers. It will be of particular interest to consultants and regulators such as the local authority Contaminated Land Officers, those enforcing Building Regulations and the National Housebuilding Council (NHBC).

David Fatscher, Head of Market Development for Sustainability at BSI says: “Amongst other guidance, BS 8576 provides a clear framework on which gases can and cannot be assessed, ensuring that measurements meet UK requirements. Since carbon dioxide and methane are both powerful greenhouse gases, their uncontrolled release from landfills into the atmosphere contributes to climate change and by using BS 8576, release can be minimized.”

Chris Swainston, Chairman of the Soil Quality Committee says, “Created with the assistance of many significant leaders in this field and following a wide ranging public consultation, the new standard provides much in the way of good advice, practice and practicality that current effective and efficient site investigation requires."






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