Contaminated Land and Environmental Due Diligence

DBS is currently assisting two industrial clients in their due diligence process for the purchase of new sites for their operations.

It is heartening to be involved with new regeneration and the picking up of the property market, following the events of recent years and the recession.  It is also good to see industrial operations expanding with the job creation that brings.

Contaminated land / environmental Due Diligence is an essential process to follow during any land transaction, but even more so when former industrial land is to be acquired, due to the potential high risks of acquiring sites with a liability present in the form of land and / or water contamination.

Very often sites are acquired with the intention of subsequently applying for planning consent for a change of use for the site.  The due diligence process for site acquisition, if done correctly, can also be used to provide the information required to obtain planning consent for a change of use, and it makes financial sense to obtain all of the information required to satisfy the acquisition risks, and the subsequent planning requirements in one go.

At DBS we support clients through this process, and we aim to provide clients with a very commercial service in that we de-risk sites fully, focusing on key constraints, in order to help clients save costs whilst also allowing them to fully understand risk and achieve planning, should site acquisition proceed.

All environmental due diligence assessments should commence with a thorough desk based review of the sites regulatory, historical and environmental setting, and an initial Conceptual Model of the site understanding established.  By getting a very tight Conceptual Model established at the desk based stage, it allows the subsequent stages of risk management / mitigation to be focused, to target actual risks so that an intrusive investigation can be designed economically in order to obtain actual information on site conditions, and ultimately prevent exposure to long terms acquisition risks.

Once the contaminated land evaluation process has completed, it is important that the work also gives meaningful information for clients so that they can understand risk.  DBS’ Due Diligence reports contain Liability Statements that clients understand, we cover Statutory Liability (if the site is acquired could it be subsequently be determined as contaminated land by the LPA under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990), Third Party Liability (is there a potential for the site to impact negatively off site), and we also provide a statement on Constraints to Development (if purchased, are there features on site that could prevent or prove costly for the site to be changed for its proposed new use).

De-risking sites commercially is a very skilled process, we only use highly experienced and chartered professionals for our due diligence work, and we have an enviable track record in helping clients to acquire sites projects and achieve planning, helping their projects to succeed.

We can also assist industrial clients with site divestiture, we can provide the information to give them confidence that they are not leaving behind contaminated land, human health risk or environmental risks that could come back to haunt them in years time.  The work we do also provides reports that can help with the sale of the site, to give investors confidence and to help minimise their acquisition costs.

We look forward to the contaminated land and due diligence portfolio of work we undertake increasing as we move away from recession in the UK.

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