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HMRC internal manual

Corporate Intangibles Research and Development Manual

Land Remediation Relief: What is "land in a contaminated state"?: Land in a Contaminated State

This guidance applies to expenditure incurred on or before 31 March 2009.


Land is in a contaminated state for the purposes of Land Remediation Relief, if, and only if, substances in, on or under the land are actually or potentially causing:

  • harm, or
  • the pollution of controlled waters.

Nuclear sites are specifically excluded from the definition of “land in a contaminated state” see CIRD60115.

Work carried out as a precaution, without evidence that a substance was present, does not qualify for relief.

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FA01/SCH22/PARA31 (1)

A “substance” for the purposes of Land Remediation Relief is any natural or artificial substance, whether in solid or liquid form or in the form of a gas or vapour.

Until 24 November 2008 HMRC took the view that the term “substance” could not include a life-form. On 24 November 2008, however, HMRC published a change of view, accepting that a plant can be a substance for the purposes of Land Remediation Relief. A copy of the change of view statement issued on 24 November 2008 is at CIRD61020.

For periods before 1 April 2009, Land Remediation Relief did not distinguish between substances that were present as a result of industrial activities and those that were present as a result of naturally occurring processes.

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FA01/SCH22/PARA31 (1)

For periods ending on or before 31 March 2009, “Harm” means:

  • harm to the health of living organisms,
  • interference with the ecological systems of which any living organisms form part,
  • offence to the senses of human beings, or
  • damage to property.

The likelihood of harm being caused will vary according to the land use.

This section contains the following further guidance:

CIRD61010 Land in a contaminated state: Example
CIRD61015 Japanese knotweed
CIRD61020 Japanese knotweed - change of view statement
CIRD61025 Burials
CIRD61030 Voids and spaces
CIRD61035 Flood prevention
CIRD61040 Landscaping and earthworks
CIRD61045 Ground gases