The past use of chemicals (hazardous substances) in industry, agriculture and horticulture has left a legacy of soil contamination in New Zealand. This contamination is mainly caused by past practices including storage and use of hazardous substances, and disposal of hazardous wastes.
These contaminants are a problem when the hazardous substances are at a concentration and a place where they have, or are reasonably likely to have, an adverse effect on human health and the environment. Contaminants are a greater problem in environments where food is grown or in close proximity to buildings, people, water bodies and important habitats.
Prior to the NESCS, the controls applied by councils to manage contaminated soils were not consistent across the country. The NESCS means all councils now follow the same planning and decision-making framework.
Further information on why the NESCS is needed is contained in the following documents.