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Sandy Brow contaminated land

​​​​​​​​The site known as former landfill, Sandy Brow is situated in the Spotland district of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, centred on National Grid Reference (NGR) x 388409 y 413158.  The site covers an area of approximately 11.4 hectares.

The site is presently a public open space (POS) comprising playing fields, football, cricket and lacrosse pitches, surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial properties.


In 2000, Part 2A of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act came into force, which required councils to check its areas for sites which may meet the legal definition of “contaminated land”. 

Sandy Brow’s present use as a playing field and surrounding residential use and other sports and commercial buildings has resulted in the site being considered sensitive.  Therefore the council is undertaking this investigation to comply with its statutory obligations.

Site history

The site was largely farmland in the 19th century with some sand extraction pits and a river flowing through the site.  The area became increasingly developed with residential and commercial properties surrounding the site, the Rochdale cemetery to the west.  Landfill activity began in the 1950s with some of the site in the north used as playing fields.  The activity had ceased by the 1970s and the site was reinstated as it looks today.


An environmental ground investigation will be undertaken by an environmental consultant firm to assess any potential risk.  The investigation will involve drilling boreholes to assess ground conditions and act as monitoring points, in certain areas it will be necessary to sample in certain properties back gardens.

The ground investigation will begin in November 2013 and is expected to last up to 2 weeks followed by up to 6 months of monitoring after which a report will be produced outlining conclusions on the sites environmental status with conclusions on whether any remedial work or further investigation is required.

Read more about Sandy Brow (145kb pdf)​​


The initial investigations and monitoring were completed in 2014; the ground gas monitoring established the former landfill did not represent a risk to surrounding receptors. The soil sample analysis identified certain contaminants within the playing fields and some garden areas which required further risk assessment and intrusive works. This work was completed and the conclusion was the playing fields and surrounding areas did not meet the legal definition of “contaminated land” as defined by the 1990 Environmental Protection Act and the decision record document was completed.

Sandy Brow Contaminated Land Decision Record (174kb pdf)​​​​

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0300 303 8871

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Public Protection Service​​
Number One Riversid​e​
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU