The rationale for simple approaches for sustainability assessment and management in contaminated land practice

Richard Bardos, B. Bone, R. Boyle, F. Evans, Nicola Harries, Trevor Howard, Jonathan Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scale of land-contamination problems, and of the responses to them, makes achieving sustainability in contaminated land remediation an important objective. The Sustainable Remediation Forum in the UK (SuRF-UK) was established in 2007 to support more sustainable remediation practice in the UK. The current international interest in ‘sustainable remediation' has achieved a fairly rapid consensus on concepts, descriptions and definitions for sustainable remediation, which are now being incorporated into an ISO standard. However the sustainability assessment methods being used remain diverse with a range of (mainly) semi-quantitative and quantitative approaches and tools developed, or in development. Sustainability assessment is site specific and subjective. It depends on the inclusion of a wide range of considerations across different stakeholder perspectives. Taking a tiered approach to sustainability assessment offers important advantages, starting from a qualitative assessment and moving through to semi-quantitative and quantitative assessments on an ‘as required' basis only. It is also clear that there are a number of ‘easy wins' that could improve performance against sustainability criteria right across the site management process. SuRF-UK has provided a checklist of ‘sustainable management practices' that describes some of these. This paper provides the rationale for, and an outline of, and recently published SuRF-UK guidance on preparing for and framing sustainability assessments; carrying out qualitative sustainability assessment; and simple good management practices to improve sustainability across contaminated land management activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-768
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

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  • Sustainable remediation
  • Contaminated land management.


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