What is an Environmental Search when buying a property and do I need it?

An Environmental Search is a report into Environmental issues, which we always recommend is carried out when purchasing a residential property. Our conveyancing solicitors in Leicester set out why Josiah Hincks as a firm always carry out Environmental Searches for our conveyancing clients.

An Environmental Search Report looks into to the following Environmental factors:

  • Contaminated Land including past land use;
  • Flooding;
  • Energy & Infrastructure (e.g. Solar or wind farms);
  • Ground Stability;
  • Radon Gas;
  • Other influential environmental factors (e.g. overhead power lines)

The results of an Environmental Search will reveal the past use of the property as well as its surrounding area. These matters are not necessarily recorded in the Local Authority searches carried out as standard. While the Local Authority (Council) Searches may identify contaminated sites, they only shows those which the Council has served notices on in the past. Environmental Searches are carried out by companies that maintain more detailed information about the land.

There are two key areas to be aware of in this Search, Contaminated Land and Flooding. Contamination of land is a potentially serious issue when purchasing a property as there is an obligation for property owners to clean up their contaminated land which inevitably incurs costs.

Flooding is another issue which would highly influence a decision on whether to proceed with the purchase of a property. The Environmental Search provides historical information for the occurrence of River, Coastal, Groundwater and Surface water flooding.

It is important that issues revealed in the Environmental Search have been appropriately dealt with prior to proceeding with your property purchase, especially considering that a mortgage lender may not proceed with their borrowing if these issues have not been dealt with.

For further information in relation to Environmental Searches, please feel free to contact one of our conveyancing team in your local office. 

[show-team category=’property-2′ layout=’grid’ style=’img-rounded,img-white-border,text-left,img-above,3-columns’ display=’photo,position,location,email,telephone,name’]

Author: Steven Mather
Steven is a Partner of Josiah Hincks and specialises in commercial litigation