Most contaminated UK towns revealed

Nine of the ten worst locations for land contamination were found in England, just one in Scotland and none in Wales or Northern Ireland.

Following a series of Freedom of Information requests actioned by ductwork, extraction and fabrication specialists Airmatic, it has been confirmed the UK’s most contaminated town is Warrington, Cheshire.

Overall, 1,759 individual sites were found in the borough, covering a total of 41,603,277 square metres. 

people sitting on gray concrete floor during daytime

Just behind that, another northern location – Sefton, Liverpool – took second place. The London borough of Hillingdon, Waverley in Surrey and Mendip, Somerset, complete the top five. Gateshead, West Dunbartonshire, Hull, Herefordshire and Calderdale all round out the top ten for land contamination.

It’s important to note, though, methodology behind this work has some flaws. While all councils in the country were able to provide a full breakdown of how many sites in their area were considered to be contaminated, only those that offered the overall square metres of affected land were included in the list.

Although unlikely to change the table significantly, this could mean some councils are not featured where a limited number of very large sites have suffered contamination. Here’s a visualisation of the locations on a map:

UK’s Most Contaminated Areas

  1. Warrington – 41,603,277m2
  2. Sefton – 975,050m2
  3. Hillingdon – 700,000m2
  4. Waverley – 382,000m2
  5. Mendip – 280,000m2
  6. Gateshead – 243,000m2
  7. West Dunbartonshire – 180,000m2
  8. Hull – 163,578m2
  9. Herefordshire – 156,000m2
  10. Calderdale – 137,000m2

The report comes at a time when contamination is high on the news agenda following a series of train derailments in the US. The East Palestine, Ohio crash, in which a 150-car freight locomotive left the tracks shedding a number of hazardous chemicals, has been described as a major environmental incident.

Alarms have sounded over water, soil and air pollution, with thousands of animals found dead following the incident on 3rd February. You can read more on this in our sister publication, Air Quality News.

Top image: Alexander Schimmeck

Bottom: Airmatic


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