Professional advice to keep your project moving forward

When determining a development application for any development of land, State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) No. 55 requires Councils to consider whether the land is contaminated, and if contaminated, they need to be satisfied that the land is suitable in its contaminated state for the purpose of which the development is proposed.

A Stage 1 – Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) is a useful assessment to submit with any development application, as it incorporates a desktop study of the site. A Stage 1 – PSI involves an appraisal of site history, adjoining land uses, relevant regulatory databases and a site inspection. Where a site history and inspection can demonstrate that past or present site activities have been non-contaminating, there is no requirement for further investigation. A Stage 1 – PSI will put you on the front foot with your development application because where there is no reason to suspect contamination, your proposal can be processed in the usual way.

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A change in land-use will always require the decision-making authority to decide whether historic or current land contamination presents a risk to new land use or the development of your site. If Stage 1 – PSI indicates that the land is potentially contaminated or if a previous land-use has been discovered and is considered a risk,
then a Stage 2 – Detailed Site Investigation may be required.