Determining responsibility for remediation
The Contaminated Sites Committee (Committee) makes decisions about who is responsible for remediation of a site that has been classified contaminated - remediation required and the extent to which each person is responsible under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (Act). Specifically, the Committee makes decisions as to responsibility for remediation in the following circumstances:
If the Committee is requested to do so by an interested person.
On its own initiative if the Committee considers it necessary/advisable.
Where entry to a site, or taking action to comply with a notice is refused.
Applications to the Committee to determine responsibility for remediation must be made in writing, in a form approved by the Committee and must include, amongst other matters, reasons why the applicant believes they are or are not responsible for remediation of the site. Click the on the Responsibility Applications page for more information on how to apply.
The Committee has no powers to hold hearings, swear witnesses or conduct physical investigations. All matters are determined on the written information and submissions provided by parties and relevant persons.
The Committee may request further information from an applicant or any other relevant person if the Committee considers that it has insufficient information to enable it to make a decision. Under the Act, the Committee is required to consult the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) in relation to responsibility for remediation applications.
All parties involved in the Committee's determination of the responsibility for remediation are provided with copies of documents/submissions and are given the opportunity to make submissions in response, consistent with the principles of procedural fairness.
Once all of the information and submissions are received, the Committee reviews the information and comes to a preliminary decision. All parties are notified, under section 37 of the Act of the proposed decision and the Committee's reasons. Parties then have an opportunity to make further submissions and provide further information. The Committee considers the additional submissions and information, then makes a final decision under section 39 of the Act, which includes reasons for the decision.
The Committee's responsibility for remediation decisions are not appealable on the merits of the case, however they may be appealed to the Supreme Court on a question of law. Click on the Supreme Court page to search for Contaminated Sites Committee Appeal decisions.
The Act makes no provision for publishing the Committee's decisions, so it is not possible for the general public to know how the Committee has reached a specific decision. Click on the How the Committee makes responsibility for remediation decisions page, which provides an explanation on the Committee's decision making process.