Listening To Stakeholders Adds Value To The Land Remediation Process

Posted by geologixaus on March 16th, 2020

Land remediation is a costly process and needs to conform to government legislation and regulations. The legal framework is an important mechanism in protecting human health and the environmental, however, it has a strong focus on legal liabilities. Contemporary approaches to land remediation are attempting to find more sustainable options and address broader impacts associated with contaminated land.

Stakeholder engagement can be highly valuable in designing a remediation strategy that attempts to deliver a net benefit to all affected groups. It will help to identify community concerns as well as communicate the benefits of a remediation proposal. Of course, different stakeholders will have different views and concerns. Unsurprisingly, their response to a remediation proposal and any associated concerns usually derive from how they use and value the land.

Six categories of stakeholders

In general, stakeholder interests in the remediation of contaminated land include the following:

  • The landowner (or owner of the contamination)
  • The remediation consultant or contractor
  • Regulators (such as the EPA)
  • The site auditor
  • Neighbours; and
  • The local council.

All stakeholders would see the value in minimising environmental risks to human health and the environment, however, each stakeholder will most likely focus on a different element of a remediation proposal. For example, the landowner is most likely to be concerned with the cost of a remediation plan and seeking a return on investment. At the same time, a remediation consultant may want to apply a newer, more sustainable technique that the regulator is less comfortable with in light of compliance issues and current legislation and guidelines. Similarly, neighbours and local government will have varying interests and priorities.

Diverse interests can result in controversies that delay a project or unwanted media attention. Unresolved disputes can also lead to litigation. Engaging with stakeholders early in the remediation process can help uncover various interests and concerns and help to minimise controversies.

Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits

A remediation project can deliver numerous benefits across social, economic as well as environmental realms. The parameters will vary depending on the location of the site and other specific details. Influencing factors in each realm could include:

1.Economic: enhancing land values, creating new development opportunities, boosting local economies, fulfilling contractual obligations, developing more cost-effective or sustainable remediation techniques, maintaining or enhancing a corporate reputation.

2.Environmental: minimising contamination risks to fauna or flora, enhancing the natural environment or addressing unsightly impacts (ie. a blight on the land).

3.Social gains: minimizing health risks to site users and neighbours, addressing community health concerns, developing positive community and industry relationships, improving community amenity, enhancing aesthetics, contributing to scientific knowledge, and building greater awareness of shared values.

Conflicts in Values

Given how hard it is to weigh one stakeholder’s values and objectives over another’s, good communication and information flow among stakeholders can be critical for a project’s success. A stakeholder engagement strategy can be a key component in defining all relevant value drivers and community concerns. Transparency and good communication can build trust and provide opportunities to secure broad benefits in making remediation decisions.

Sustainable Remediation Strategies

More recently, remediation consultants are starting to seek more sustainable remediation strategies. It’s not just a search for greener techniques, remediation consultants are also aim to secure a net gain across environmental, economic and social issues. This strategy has helped expand risk-based decision making which should help to enable more sustainable remediation approaches.

While the concept of a value-add process is gaining traction, sustainable remediation is still not the norm within the industry. One reason for this is that regulators are risk-adverse in relation to new technologies and environmental consultants may need to invest significant effort in proving the validity of a novel approach.

Nevertheless, sustainability goals are powering research and helping to shift values. Several industry bodies have already been established to research clean technologies and are working to promote change in the industry. The Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) is one such organisation which is working to promote best-practice methods that incorporate value-based metrics.

Geo-Logix remediation services aim to balance all commercial, compliance and environmental objectives and employ a range of remediation techniques and technologies. For further information on our services or to seek advice on your project, please contact Ben Pearce at

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: September 2nd, 2019
Articles Posted: 5

More by this author