LQM is a specialist environmental consultancy based in Nottingham (UK) with an international reputation for assessing and managing the risks posed to human health and the environment by contaminants in soil. Increasingly this is being done within a context of sustainable development and specifically sustainable brownfield regeneration.

We provide consultancy, peer review and expert witness services, contract research and training courses on all aspects of the management of land contamination to problem holders, developers and local government.

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S4UL Frequently Asked Questions

LQM announced at yesterday's annual CIEH Standing Conference on Land Contamination that we will be updating the LQM/CIEH GAC publication in the coming months.

While the S4ULs will continue to be of use in screening out substances from further consideration under Part 2A, we envisage their main role will be as state-of-the-art generic assessment criteria in the planning system.  The S4ULs will be:

  • based on Health Criteria Values, updated to reflect changes since 2009
  • derived for the standard CLEA land uses and the two public open space scenarios developed by Defra SP1010
  • developed for ca 85 substances (those covered by the LQM/CIEH GAC and the SGV substances)
  • compliant with SR2 and the long standing principle of 'suitable for use'
  • reflecting changes to exposure parameters produced by Defra SP1010
  • published in book form with explicit permission to quote values for commercial and regulatory purposes

As was the case for the first and second edition of the LQM/CIEH GAC publication and Dose-Response Roadmaps, the land contamination sector is invited to be part of that process.  We will be holding two workshops to feed into the derivation of the Suitable 4 Use Levels (S4UL); a  face to face event will be held in Nottingham on the 8th July  and, in recognition of the difficulties some face traveling, a second online event will be held on the 11th July.  Further details and booking information for these events are available using the links above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 - Whilst this is a catchy acronym, do any other consultants have misgivings about using the wording 'suitable for use'  and the contractual  implications that has?

A - I am glad you like the wording!  Like any generic assessment criterion its relevance to the site specific and contractual circumstances in which it is being used is up to the risk assessor using the value.  Under the planning regime it is the development that has to be suitable for use and therefore the basis on which that judgment is made has to be relevant to the circumstances in question.

Q2 - Is there a risk that this could, by implication, be interpreted that a substance failing these limits is NOT suitable for use?

A - A Exceeding generic assessment criteria based on Health Criterion Values (rather than any elevated level of risk) should trigger further consideration and not be presumed to imply remediation is needed. Sadly many have not understood that for the SGVs and other GACs over the years. 

Q3 - How will the online workshop work?

A - The online workshop will follow similar lines to the face to face one.  We will deliver briefings via a webinar interface.  Delegates will be allocated 1-2 partners to work with collaboratively online and tasks to carry out. LQM staff will be able to monitor the online collaboration and progress you are making and answer any queries you may have - preferable typed in but also via skype / webinar interface if necessary.  We use the citrix gotowebinar software and will send instructions on this to those attending.

Q4 -  [he] makes a very good point....very surprised at the timing of the issue of the new guidance and the reliance on CS4 toxicological methodology innovation. Bearing in mind the "prolonged discussion" with respect to use of CS4 (sic) for planning purposes why should this pending guidance be exempt from any peer review and examination?

A - The S4UL make no use of the CS4 [sic; presumably C4SL] Tox methodology.  The publication will be both peer reviewed and subject to input from those interested in being involved. This was also the case for the 1st and 2nd edition of the LQM/CIEH GAC publications.

Q5 - What time are you looking to start and finish?

A - 09:30 coffee and registration, 10:00 start, 17:00 finish

Q6 - Is there an itinerary?
A - The day will comprise:

  • Introduction to S4ULs
  • Agree on exposure parameters
  • Allocation of substances
  • Review SELECTED toxicological, physical and chemical properties
  • Feedback
  • Next steps

NB Delegates will work partly individually and partly in small groups with support from LQM staff.

Q7 - What are you expecting delegates to do on the day?

See Answer to Question 6 above!