The COMMON FORUM on Contaminated Land was initiated in Bonn 1994. It started as an informal group of those from agencies in European countries who are involved with contaminated land and groundwater issues. In 1996 COMMON FORUM gained a more formal status as initiators of the European Union funded CARACAS (Concerted Action on Risk Assessement for contaminated Sites in the European Union) concerted action on risk assessment for contaminated land. COMMON FORUM was the group of formal country representatives in CARACAS, and this situation continued during the subsequent CLARINET (Contaminated Land Rehabilitation Network) concerted action, which ended in 2001.
The publication of the CLARINET reports introducing “Risk based land Management” as a central concept in European contaminated land approaches illustrates that European Union wide harmonisation can arise at a strategic level if all stakeholders realise the benefits of this. COMMON FORUM is now recognised by the European Commission as an important “stakeholder network” in the development of a European Union soil protection policy. It is also recognised by the industry-lead contaminated land network NICOLE (Network of Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe) as representing the European regulatory and policymaking community.
After the end of CLARINET, COMMON FORUM wanted to keep it’s central position in the soil protection and contaminated land discussion, and succeeded due to the enthusiasm of it’s members. The need for more continuity was growing, as expressed during all meetings since 2001, for many actions to take place between meetings, and for more effective engagement with bodies like the European Commission.