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Environment reports - when were they introduced?

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  • Environment reports - when were they introduced?

    Hi

    In the process of buying and have a report as part of the local searches including flood risk, mining and land history.

    I notice in ours it states that we are in an area that has contaminated land (0 - 250m) but as its given a certificate its not a problem for lenders.

    Has land history been a part of local searches for some time or is it a recent addition?


  • #2
    Environmental searches have been around for many years now, but are pretty blunt instruments in my view: they are based on postcode sectors and historical tend to produce too many false positives. For example, the fact that there is a windmill near my previous office resulted in the office being treated as "potentially contaminated due to proximity of industrial uses". On the other hand, they are unlikely to identify contaminated land in the way that a site inspection and taking soil samples would. I therefore only arrange environmental searches if the client asks me to, as they tend to be a waste of money.

    However, you may be referring to the "contaminated land" questions on local authority search results. For many years, local councils have been required to keep registers of contaminated land, though few councils have anything like a comprehensive register yet
    This is based on my experience as a conveyancing solicitor in England, but I do not accept liability for information I give in this forum

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    • #3
      Although I agree that Environmental Searches tend to produce a lot of worrying information because it is often not possible to prove there is no problem with some previous use, even though nobody in the area has ever worried about it, I disagree with Justin N and do them for that reason.

      In one sense it is a pain that we get all this extra information that can put people off, but for me the bottom line is that I can have a very unhappy client if his buyer does an environmental search and it shows a possible "problem" and we didn't do one when my client purchased!

      Having said that, it isn't foolproof because searches can come out with different results. I have a case at the moment where the search on the purchase reported contaminative uses and landfills within 250m which were not considered a problem, but now we find out that the property is built on the landfill and it is a problem!
      RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
      As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

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