Who do I contact for advice?
For impartial advice on any land quality issues or reporting requirements please call Lisa Davies or Liam Carey on 01743 276100 or email email@example.com
What is a Phase 1 contaminated land report?
A Phase 1 contaminated land report is a literature based review designed to give an overview of the risk of land or groundwater contamination to end-users (house occupiers or workers) and the immediate environment.
A Phase 1 Study collates relevant information from a variety of sources relating to the setting of the Site and its previous historical uses. The end product is usually an interpretive report that contains a qualitative risk assessment, including a conceptual site model that describes the potentially significant sources of contamination, receptors and pathways.
The study involves multiple sources of information often including Ordnance Survey maps, geological and groundwater vulnerability maps, aerial photographs, local and national archives and newspapers and registers held by relevant regulatory agencies. A site walkover (land investigation) may be required to support the collated desk based information to provide details of the current condition of the site and gather evidence of potential contamination. ESI will generally conduct a site walkover following the initial desk study to ensure a ‘best value’ approach in meeting regulations and individual report needs.
How much is a Phase 1 Land Assessment?
The cost of a Phase 1 report is variable based on the size of the land or property being reviewed and the amount of data required to meet the purpose of the Phase 1 report. As an outline cost a very basic report would start from £395 + vat. A report requiring greater depth of information and requiring more comprehensive and expert interpretation with a site walk over would be in the region of £650
What does a Phase 1 report contain?
A Phase 1 Study collates relevant information from a variety of sources relating to the Site setting and its previous historical uses. The end product is an interpretive report that describes the likely presence of any contamination within the sub surface and the potential risks that this may pose to future Site users and the immediate environment. A site walkover may be required to support the desk study information and provide greater certainty in the report findings.
Why commission a Phase 1 report?
An assessment of the prevailing land quality at a site may be required for a number of reasons, including:
- To satisfy a specific planning condition (i.e., when redeveloping a brownfield site)
- To inform a property/land sale or purchase (i.e., as part of a conveyancing or due diligence process)
- To quantify the level of environmental risk present (i.e., as part of a Part IIA EPA or Environmental Permitting process)
Which report is best for you?
Different levels of Phase 1 reporting are required for different purposes. ESI has therefore developed a range of products which are suited to the differing needs of our clients.
When is land formally classified as being contaminated?
Land is classed as contaminated when it meets the ‘official definition’ of contaminated land as detailed in the relevant legislation currently PartII A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Contaminated Land Regulations 2000. This definition refers to terms such as ‘significant possibility’ of ‘significant harm’ being caused by substances in, on or under the land. It is therefore vitally important to clearly and pragmatically define what ‘significant’, ‘possibility’ and ‘harm’ means for a specific site and situation.
How can contaminated land be identified?
To come to a conclusion as to whether a plot or area of land meets the ‘official definition’ requires an assessment and possible investigation by a professional consultancy such as ESI who will instigate a staged assessment following a formally recognised and approved methodology. This process usually consists of a Phase 1 desk study (sometimes referred to as a desktop study) – with or without sampling. The Phase 1 will include the study and careful examination of historical maps, environmental data and survey information in order to both avoid liability and reduce assessment costs. If doubt is raised a Phase 2 investigation with potential trial pitting or similar sub surface investigation will be required. Samples may require laboratory analysis as part of either step although more likely as part of a Phase 2 investigation.
Of vital importance is to take into consideration current land use. A site which is used for light commercial use may not be classed as contaminated although if change of use is proposed to residential use, classification might change to contaminated based on the risk to human health.
Can contaminated land effect the development process?
If land is highlighted by the local authority as potentially being contaminated the authorities contaminated land officer is likely to impose a planning condition that an assessment must be completed for clarification. Until that assessment has been completed and accepted by the contaminated land officer the development should not proceed.
Who is responsible for (has a duty of care) in contaminated land issues ?
The original polluter of the land is officially the person or organisation responsible for any liabilities relating to land contamination. As the pollution may have occurred decades earlier potentially prior to legislation this person or organisation may never be found and it is therefore the new owner who will be responsible. It is essential that the person responsible for undertaking the property purchase or development and their legal advisor understands the degree of risks and potential financial implications.
Each local authority has a general responsibility for identifying and deciding on necessary actions in relation to contaminated land in its area. Land can potentially be sold which is contaminated and the responsibility may end up being passed to the new owner or indeed a bank or mortgage lender if the new purchaser was to default.
In summary professional advice should always be sought prior to purchase on any previously developed land.
For initial advice please call Lisa Davies or Andy Singleton on 01743 276100