A Contaminated Land Assessment is the name given to an audit of a site that is proposed for either redevelopment or for transfer of liability.

These aspects are usually driven by a Planning Condition from the Local Authority, or as part of Due Diligence on the part of the vendor / purchaser.

The overall aim of the Contaminated Land Assessment is to determine if a site has the potential to present a significant risk to sensitive receptors. If there is deemed to be a risk it is then necessary to set out methodology to render the site suitable for the proposed end use. This will be determined within a Remediation Method Statement, which once agreed with the regulator should be enacted, and will include an agreed validation criteria.

Planning Conditions that require a Contaminated Land Assessment are often set out in a phased order, with the stages set out above progressed as deemed necessary by the investigative works.

As part of a Due Diligence assessment, it is often prudent to determine the extent of any contamination as this often has a significant impact on the land value. If a site is presenting a risk to off-site receptors Part IIa of the Environmental Protection Act places an obligation on the site owner to mitigate the risk through remedial works.

If a commercial site is being acquired for redevelopment as residential housing, the criteria for soil quality is much more sensitive than for an ongoing commercial use. A due diligence assessment will be able to model encountered soil results with regards to the future site use, which will allow determination of outline clean-up costs. This figure can then be used in negotiations on purchase price.

Omnia Environmental Consulting have acted for an array of commercial clients on due diligence assessments, and specialise in producing meaningful abnormal cost appraisals, supported by robust site assessment within limited timeframes.