What is land remediation relief?

Land remediation relief is a valuable incentive provided by the UK government to encourage the clean-up and redevelopment of contaminated or long-term derelict land that was previously used for industrial purposes (brownfield sites). This relief not only promotes environmental sustainability but also offers significant tax advantages to eligible taxpayers. 

Understanding land remediation relief

Land remediation relief was introduced as part of the Finance Act 2001 and was extending in scope in 2009. The relief is only available to companies cleaning or developing brownfield sites that have been previously used for industrial purposes and may now be abandoned, derelict, or contaminated.

The relief aims to alleviate the financial burden associated with cleaning up and bringing such sites back into productive use.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for land remediation relief, certain criteria must be met:

  1. Ownership: The taxpayer must own the land in question or have a controlling interest in it.
  2. Contamination or derelict: The land must have been acquired in a contaminated or derelict state. Contamination can arise from historical industrial activities, waste disposal, or other sources. The relief also applies to the removal of certain structures form land that has been derelict for a long period of time. 
  3. Remediation: The taxpayer must undertake activities to remediate the contamination, ensuring the land is safe for use.
  4. Qualifying expenditure: Only specific costs associated with the remediation process qualify for relief. These include expenses related to site investigation, removal of contaminants, and restoring the land to a usable condition. It should be noted that expenditure is only qualifying if it was incurred only as a result of the cleaning up the contamination and not if the expenditure would have been incurred anyway.

Tax benefits

Land remediation relief provides two main tax benefits for eligible taxpayers:

  1. Enhanced deductions: Qualifying expenditures can be deducted from the company's profits, reducing the overall tax liability. The relief allows for a deduction of 150% of the qualifying costs incurred for both revenue and capital expenditure.
  2. Losses surrender: If a company is not profitable and unable to use the full deduction, it can surrender the losses for a 16% tax credit. This credit can be used to offset other tax liabilities or claimed as a cash payment.

Please note no relief is available to the company that caused the pollution in the first place.

Real-world examples

Let's consider a hypothetical scenario to illustrate the potential benefits of land remediation relief. Suppose a company incurs £100,000 in qualifying remediation costs. For an SME, this could result in a tax deduction of £150,000, reducing the taxable profits and, consequently, the tax liability. For larger companies, a £100,000 deduction would still provide significant tax relief.


Land remediation relief serves as a powerful incentive for companies to revitalise contaminated land, contributing to both environmental sustainability and economic development. By taking advantage of this relief, UK taxpayers can not only contribute to positive social and environmental outcomes but also enjoy substantial tax benefits.

It is essential for businesses to carefully navigate the eligibility criteria and documentation requirements to maximise the advantages offered by land remediation relief, which is why we advise seeking professional advice. Our tax experts are here to ensure that you can benefit from this incentive while contributing to the transformation of brownfield sites across the UK.

The next step

If you have any further questions regarding this insight, please contact Anthony Davies on, or your usual UHY adviser.

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