Precautionary sampling to begin at former industrial sites

The City of Edinburgh Council is to take samples at three sites in Edinburgh as part of a long-running inspection programme in former industrial areas. The sites are; the old Portobello power station, the former Northfield chemical works and a former chemical works at Abbeyhill.

Legislation requires local authorities to identify and assess such sites to check they are safe for their current use.

The three sites mentioned above will now have a more detailed inspection as part of a wider programme of works that will take a number of years. The work will begin in March and involve specialist contractors taking soil, gas and water samples.

The Council is writing to local residents informing them of the works. Site investigations should take only a few days although it is expected that it will take several months to analyse and report back on the results.

Cllr Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader at the City of Edinburgh Council , said: "There's no reason to think there are specific concerns with these sites, but as with any area that has an industrial heritage, Edinburgh needs to consider the possibility of an unwanted legacy. The legislation is there to make sure we actively look for possible problems, so I have to stress that this is very much precautionary work. The health and well-being of residents is paramount and we will keep all of those in the affected areas informed as the investigations proceed."

Anyone who wants to know more can contact the Environmental Assessment Team on 0131 469 5922 or

Note for Editors

The Council is carrying out duties under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The provisions of that part came into effect in July 2000 and require Local Authorities to inspect their area to identify land with an industrial history in the interest of protecting the health and well-being of its residents. Initial evaluation has identified land with previous industrial usage

This legislation applies to all local authorities in the UK .

 The sites have been prioritised according to various factors, including where people are living, how the land has been previously used and environmental features, e.g. watercourses.

The inspection work will take place over a number of years.

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