Conveyancing - environmental searches
The introduction of legislation has resulted in an increased awareness amongst mortgage lenders of possible liabilities associated with contaminated land. Consequently, it has become increasingly common for solicitors and conveyancers to undertake a third party environmental search when arranging the transaction of land or property.
These searches are generally based upon information obtained from historical ordnance survey maps, local authorities and the Environment Agency. Over a period of time a particular site may have been home to a variety of industries, each of which may have left substances in the ground that may be hazardous to human health and the environment. More recent activities on the site may also have been identified which could also have had a detrimental impact on the environment. If a search of these historical maps shows the presence of past industrial activities on or in the vicinity of a site or property, it raises the possibility that a source of contamination may be present.
The consequences of us determining the land or property you own or occupy as Statutory Contaminated Land, could mean that you might be liable for remediation or clean-up costs. The concern from mortgage lenders in particular, is that if the mortgagee defaults on repayments and the lender repossess the property, they may be left liable for these costs.