Historical development and its effect on soil contamination in urban areas


This research will create a new methodology for identifying local diffuse sources of contamination and relationships between historical urban development and groups of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in urban soils.  This will allow us to identify where particular sources are expected to govern PTE concentrations and calculate background concentrations of these PTEs in these areas to inform assessment of risks from contaminated land.  The Belfast Tellus data was used to create the methodology, which will be tested using data from another city surveyed in the G-BASE survey.


The outcomes of this research will enable improved risk assessment, and provide key scientific knowledge of urban processes and tools that will inform transparent decision making in wider planning and public health issues.


Research team

Rebekka McIlwaine

Dr Siobhan Cox

Dr. R. Doherty

Dr Mark Cave (British Geological Survey)


Project duration

October 2015-April 2016


Funding Agency

Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) Annual Scholarship