Article Contaminated Land Laboratories


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The Environment Agency have advised that a policy titled ‘Chemical Test Data on Contaminated Soils – Qualification Requirements (307_03)’ has recently been published. The purpose of the policy is to implement the ‘MCERTS Performance Standard for Laboratories Undertaking Chemical Testing of Soils’, which was published in March 2003.

Chemical test data on soils is used by the Agency to support its regulatory activities under a number of regimes, such as Part IIA of Environmental Protection Act 1990, Pollution, Prevention and Control (England and Wales Regulations) 2000 and Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The Performance Standard will be applicable to all laboratories and procurers of analytical services where results generated from the chemical testing of soil are presented to the Agency for regulatory purposes. After September 2004, the Agency expects that all soil testing results submitted will be from methods which have been accredited to BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2000 for the MCERTS performance standard.

In the interim period, it is encouraged that all data provided to the Agency should be from a testing method accredited to BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2000 and be accompanied by a brief method description, together with bias and precision estimates.

In addition to the policy, the Agency are producing a document for those who procure soil testing, for example consultants or local authorities, titled ‘Brief guide for procurers of analytical services’ which outlines what is expected of them and why it is required. All the documents mentioned above will be available from the Agency’s MCERTS website at

Any technical queries relating to MCERTS should be addressed to Mike Healy, Technical Advisor, by email ( and queries relating to the policy itself should be directed to Nicky Skidmore, Land Contamination Policy Advisor (Nicky,