Phase 1 Desk Study reports are generally undertaken for one of the following three scenarios;

1. To assist land purchase decisions;
2. To provide financial institutions with information for lending decisions; and
3. To provide information to support a planning application for a change of land use.

The majority of our Phase 1 reports are prepared for planning, and to enable our clients to progress a change of land use cost effectively and safely.

An accurate, thorough Phase 1 Desk Study report helps get your planning application moving. It anticipates problems, speeds your project over the regulatory hurdles and forms the basis of a cost-effective site investigation strategy, if investigation is deemed to be required.

DBS Environmental Phase 2 Ground Investigations

DBS works with local and national developers, house builders, local authorities, architects, engineers and private individuals to gather the environmental and geotechnical information they need to plan and execute successful projects.

  • We save money by highlighting potential issues early in the planning process.
  • We’ll keep your project on schedule by liaising with local planning authorities to discuss their requirements and potential concerns.
  • We’ll tell you about possible contamination and geohazards, providing a structure to get health and safety right in later phases.
  • And we’ll steer the later stages of a project, resulting in better value for money as work progresses.
DBS Environmental Phase 2 Ground Investigations

What you can expect from a Phase 1 Desk Study report

A Phase 1 Desk Study report contains preliminary research designed to reveal the history of a site and its surroundings, uncovering its previous use and providing the hard data to decide whether or not further investigation is needed.

The study will include

  • Research into previous use and how the site interacts with its surroundings, gathered from sources such as historic records, Environment Agency scientific maps and Local Authority databases
  • A report from a site walkover undertaken by a highly experienced contaminated land professional to identify potential contamination sources, pathways and receptors, both on site and off.
  • A Conceptual Site Model, which demonstrates how the site will interact with its surroundings.
  • A preliminary risk assessment (PRA).
  • Conclusions and recommendations based on the above.


We’ve completed Phase 1 Desk Studies for a wide variety of organisations across the UK, including developers, architects, local authorities, major civil engineering firms and homeowners. Have a look at our Project Profiles page to view a range of projects that we have delivered successfully recently.

Contaminated land is a “material planning consideration”. As such, a Phase 1 Desk Study report will normally be required by your Local Planning Authority as part of any initial application for a change of land use. It will not normally be viewed as something that could be “conditioned” and provided once planning permission is awarded, it needs to be provided upfront. A change of land use can range from something as minor as building a new extension on an existing private dwelling within a garden, through to the clearance and regeneration of large scale former industrial and commercial sites.

If you require a Phase 1 report for planning, then it is essential that a site walkover survey is undertaken as part of your site assessment, as the report will not be planning compliant without it.

It is also essential that a Phase 1 report follows the requirements of the Environment Agency and DEFRA guidance document CLR11 Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination, and also meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework which states that assessment of potential land contamination and ground stability issues should be undertaken by a competent person.

Our Phase 1 reports are fully planning compliant and we have an enviable track record in gaining planning consent for new development.

To see an example of a planning compliant Phase 1 report, please complete the request form and we will email a link to a report from our cloud server.

Call us today on  0191 5118 556 or Email us at

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment”
– Margaret Mead –