Proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health

The Government recently consulted on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health. This page has information on the proposed amendments.

Consultation document on the proposed amendments

Read the consultation document for information on the proposed amendments.

See the two page summary of the proposed amendments

Submissions closed at 5.00pm on Friday 14 October 2016.

Purpose of the proposed amendments

The purpose of the proposed amendments is to deliver more effectively on the policy intent of the NESCS which is ‘to ensure that land affected by contaminants in soil is appropriately identified and assessed at the time of being developed and if necessary remediated, or the contaminants contained to make the land safe for human use.’

The proposed amendments address all four parts of the NESCS framework:

  • Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL)
  • Nationwide set of planning controls
  • Requirements for undertaking and assessing site investigations and reports
  • Nationwide soil contaminant standards for 12 priority contaminants.

The Government intends to have any proposed amendments to the NESCS in effect by mid-2017, see A Way Forward for National Direction.  

Supporting documents

We recently consulted on updates to the Contaminated Land Management Guideline 1 and 5 and have updated the draft guidelines based on the submissions received. 

We have released the draft revised guidelines as they assist with understanding the proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (the NESCS). There may be further minor changes to the guidelines as a result of the consultation on the proposed amendments to the NESCS.

The final revised guidelines are planned to be gazetted in early 2017. Until then, the 2011 version of Contaminated Land Management Guidelines 1 & 5 are the ‘current editions’ for NESCS purposes. We will provide for a transitional period before the new versions of these guidelines are gazetted, to allow for investigations currently being undertaken.

Background to the proposed amendments

The proposed amendments are based on the findings of the interim review of the NESCS.

The Ministry conducted the interim review of the NESCS during 2014 and 2015. It found that the NESCS has decreased the likelihood that sites will be developed that are later found to pose an unacceptable risk to human health. However, the review identified several areas where the implementation of the NESCS framework could be more efficient.

See Interim review of the NESCS: Summary report

Find out more

For more information on the proposed amendments see:

Reviewed:
12/09/16