There are many important factors to consider prior to making any kind of land or property purchase,and environmental pollution plays a big part. In the very worst case,environmental contamination can present hazards,to users and or residents of the site. This is one of the reasons environmental risk surveys are such an important part of due diligence for any land or property purchase.
Types of environmental contamination
There are many different types of environmental pollutants that can cause dangers to land users. In many cases these are associated with previous industrial use of land,although this is not always the case as natural pollutants do also exist.
There are many types of contaminants,these contaminants can include dust or gas pollutants which can be inhaled or contamination in soils which can be transmitted to foods grown on the land and any grazing animals. Such contamination could also impact anyone working on the land.
Indirect pollutants can also damage buildings or leach out of the soil due to effects of groundwater or any river,stream or pond in the vicinity. Some of these contaminants are corrosive or could even cause fires or explosions.
Examples of contaminants include:
– Lead or other heavy metals such as cadmium or arsenic
– Tar and oil
– Radioactive materials
– Chemical substances and solvents
You can discover more on the matter of contaminated land on the UK government website.
What isthe definition ofcontaminated land?
If you want more information on contaminated land or read technical guides on dealing with special sites on the website of the Environment Agency.
The legal definition of ‘contaminated land’ relates to land containing substances which can cause:
– Very significant damage to property,people or protected species
– Harm due to radioactivity
– Pollution to surface waters,such as lakes or rivers,or groundwater
Some of the reasons for land contamination are when it has been previously used as:
– For mining
– Steel milling
– Landfill sites
Contaminated land may also fall into a ‘special sites’ category. These sites could:
– Cause serious effects to any drinking water,or surface or groundwater
– Previously have been used for activities like oil refining or the manufacture of explosives
– Have previously been regulated under permits relating to integrated pollution controls or prevention
– Previously have been used for disposal of acid tars
– Have been occupied or owned by the MOD
– Previously been used in connection with the nuclear industry or be contaminated with radioactivity
What about brownfield sites?
It’s long been government policy to bring what’s termed brownfield land back into use in order to help preserve the greenfield sites and land within rural areas. This land regeneration often causes concerns,however. The majority of larger towns and cities contain areas and sites that are not in use and due to demand,development of these brownfield sites and derelict buildings is becoming increasingly common.
Very often minimal regulations were in place to check on the re-use of brownfield sites or any potential environmental hazards thus presented. Now however,things are very different,but it has to be said that the majority of brownfield site developments are perfectly safe for residential purposes. Selling homes in these neighbourhoods can present some conveyancing issues,though.
If you have any concerns about environmental contamination which could impact on your property purchase,give the experts at www.argyllenvironmental.co.uk a call to discuss your worries.