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.