In 2016 the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) consulted on proposed amendments to the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health (NESCS) and the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL).

MfE believe that many of the key issues raised during the interim review of the NESCS and submissions from the consultation can be addressed through the provision of targeted HAIL and other guidance material. Given this focus on guidance, MfE has advised that work to amend the NESCS will slow down.

Their current work on the NESCS is focusing on improving guidance on contaminated land management and implementation, including addressing emerging soil contaminants. This work will involve HAIL guidance and completion of the Contaminated Land Management Guidelines 1 and 5 (CLMG1 & 5). Integration of advice on emerging contaminants of concern, such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances(PFAS), will be included in the new and revised guidance. Work will closely align with the PFAS priorities and a PFAS toolbox being developed.

 MfE has stated that for councils, practitioners, and industry it is business as usual. The current NESCS should be used to assess and manage contaminants in soil to protect human health.

 There is no change in the operation of the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund.