Decision-makers' perspectives on the use of bioaccessibility for risk-based regulation of contaminated land

Agnieszka E. Latawiec, Peter Simmons, Brian J. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Information on contaminant bioaccessibility has been recognized by researchers, legislators and regulators as a decision-support tool for contaminated land assessment and has been subject to interest and discussion at both national and international levels. A sustainable, proportionate and risk-based approach to contaminated land management has been adopted by contaminated land regimes throughout the world. While this approach guides national and international priorities, its practical implementation in many countries, including the United Kingdom, is reliant upon local authorities. Here, we present an investigation into the views of local authorities in England and Wales regarding the practical application of bioaccessibility and constraints associated with its implementation. The research involved an online survey followed by semi-structured interviews with selected respondents. A majority of survey respondents (70%) perceived bioaccessibility to be a useful tool that facilitates contaminated land management. However, 76% of participants indicated a need for more information regarding bioaccessibility as well as emphasising a need for more research into polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Lack of statutory guidance was indicated by 78% of respondents as the main factor hampering the use of bioaccessibility data in regulatory decision-making. Divergence of policy-maker and local regulator perceptions of bioaccessibility was also indicated by the respondents. This research brings the voice of front-line regulators for contaminated land into the on-going discussion between policy-makers and scientists on the uses of bioaccessibility. This study concludes by proposing action priorities both for the research community and for policy-makers, which are transferable to risk-based regimes elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-389
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironment International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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