What is an environmental search?
An environmental search is an additional report that is used during the conveyancing process to protect the potential buyer from potential work needed on the property and unexpected future costs. The report is compiled by a specialist environmental agency and will provide the potential buyer with valuable information about the past uses of the land where the property is located and the local vicinity. This will highlight whether the land was previously used for industrial or manufacturing purposes and provide an indication of whether this has caused contamination to the land.
Do I need one?
An environmental report will identify any risk of land contamination and will issue a pass or not passed rating. A pass rating will be issued when the search provider could not find any evidence that the lands past use has led to contamination.
A not passed rating means there is possible risk of land contamination due to its past uses. In this case further information should be acquired as it may be possible to prove the issue has already been dealt with or other information may come to light that could reverse the decision and acquire a pass rating.
If the land is found to be contaminated the owners will be responsible for the cost of the work needed in order to clean up the land, these costs can be extremely expensive. A potential buyer may be advised to take out an indemnity insurance policy on the property to cover any costs involved in cleaning up the land if they were ever demanded to do so in the future.
Lenders must be advised of any contaminated land entries, however it is up to the lenders discretion as to whether they require a full environmental report. Your conveyancing solicitor should confirm whether your particular lender requires a full environmental report and provide them with one if requested. If land contamination issues are highlighted in the report and the not passed mark cannot be reversed it may lead to the lender withdrawing their mortgage offer.
What do they include?
An environmental report can provide important information about the land your property is located on and the surrounding vicinity. Information on a standard report can include;
- Contaminated land due to its previous uses
- Energy and Infrastructure;
- The risk of flooding from nearby bodies of water
Where do I get one?
The report can be obtained through an independent search provider, however regardless of which provider you use the report will be compiled by a specialist environmental agency.
How long do they take?
The time it takes to obtain an environmental report can vary depending on the search provider but in most cases a report can be provided with 1-2 days. A more detailed report or additional searches can also be acquired within 1-2 days.