There are many vital issues to consider before making any type of land or property purchase,and environmental pollution plays a major part. In the very worst case,environmental contamination can present hazards,to users and or residents of the land. This is one of the reasons environmental risk surveys are such an important aspect of due diligence for any land or property purchase.
Types of environmental contamination
There are several different types of environmental pollutants that can cause dangers to land users. Very often these are associated with previous industrial use of land,although this is not always true as natural pollutants can also be a hazard.
There are many types of contaminants,these contaminants can include dust or gas pollutants that can be inhaled or contamination in soils which can be transmitted to foods grown on the land as well as grazing animals,and can also impact on the health of anybody working the soil.
Other contaminants 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 about 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 managing special sites on the website of the Environment Agency.
The legal definition of ‘contaminated land’ relates to land which contains 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
In many cases the contamination has been caused by previous use of the land by:
– For mining
– Steel milling
– Landfill sites
Contaminated land can also fall into a ‘special sites’ category. These sites could:
– Make any water on the land unusable without significant cleansing
– Previously have been used for activities such as 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 used by the Ministry of Defence
– 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 monitor 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 most brownfield site developments are perfectly safe for residential purposes. Selling homes in these areas can present some conveyancing problems,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.