What are environmental searches and why do we need them?

Posted: 10/11/2011

In 2001, the Law Society introduced guidance for solicitors on contaminated land. This was designed to assist property purchasers in avoiding liabilities as set out in Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

What is contaminated land?

Contaminated Land results of previous land developments, usually industrial, have left hazardous substances which may present a risk to human and animal health. In Great Britain, where many regions and towns, including town centres, used to be industrially developed, this situation is not unusual.

Under the current legislation introduced in 2000, Local councils and land / homeowners are responsible for cleaning up Contaminated Land. 

Whenever a site is designated as contaminated land, the local council will try identifying the original polluter. However, often such pollutions date back a long way and the clean up (remediation) liability will fall under the current owner of the property.

The cost of cleaning up can be anywhere between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of pounds. The contamination can also dramatically affect the value of the property, and potentially prevent future transactions.

The role of Environmental Searches:

Conveyancers recommend that an environmental search be carried out on the property to avoid home purchasers facing future unforeseen costs and distress. Relying on local knowledge is not advisable. An environmental search (also called desktop study) will assess the situation of property through the analysis of historical mapping and if need be, further enquiries to local councils.

Some environmental searches such as those provided by GroundSure also assess other risks that may affect the property, such as flood and ground stability, within one single report.

You can order a wide variety of Environmental Searches through Pali, all at very competitive prices.

Pali - your one stop shop for property and land information.

0151 691 1170   www.paliltd.com


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