Erection of an Undercover Sorting Area, White Lund Industrial Estate, Morecambe, Lancashire, LA3 3BS

Case Study Reference: 19-10-07

Planning Authority: Lancaster City Council

Planning Reference: Lancaster City Council and 20/00025/CCC


In order to support the application and to determine if would be possible for the proposed development to be determined as ‘Contaminated Land’ a desk study report was required.

A desk study determines what issues relating to historical contamination may affect the site, this is undertaken by reviewing the site history using a combination of O.S. maps, aerial, plates and street level imagery, a review of data held by regulatory bodies (Environment Agency, local authority, BGS etc.) as well as a site walkover survey.

Demeter Environmental Ltd were commissioned to prepare the desk study report for the site, the first stage of which was to review the information held by the Ordnance Survey (maps), local authority, Environment Agency as well as aerial plates and street level imagery.

The O.S. amps indicated the site was developed prior to the 1931 map when a raised embankment resembling a railway embankment ran through the site.  By 1966 the site had been redeveloped and appeared to form part if a concrete batching site.

Data provided by the Environment Agency and the local authority confirmed the site was part of a cement plant  as well as the presence of a landfill 50m north and 175m south west of the site.


A review of the information in the public domain revealed the site formed part of the White Lund munitions factory which operated during the First World War which suffered an explosion on the 1st October 1917 (

On completion of the desk based assessment the site walkover survey was undertaken, which revealed the site was a former concrete batching plant and was in the process of being cleared.

As part of the qualitative risk assessment the design of the building was taken into account and given the open nature of the building and the resulting increased ventilation the risk of ground gases and vapours were discounted.  The absence of landscaped areas also discounted made ground as a credible source of contamination for risk to human health, leaving the risk to concrete as a potential issue. As a result the assessment concluded that as part of the development samples of the made ground should be analysed in order to assess the risk to concrete.


The desk study report was submitted as a supporting document to the application (‘Phase 1 Desk Study Part ‘1 to 5) with the memo accepting the report (consultee response – Contaminated Land Officer) online.