Asset purchase transactions (EHS issues)—appointing environmental consultants
Asset purchase transactions (EHS issues)—appointing environmental consultants

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Asset purchase transactions (EHS issues)—appointing environmental consultants
  • Technical due diligence
  • Types of environmental audits
  • Environmental desktop searches
  • What to do if a desktop report recommends further action
  • Phase 1 environmental audits
  • Intrusive phase 2 investigations
  • Appointing environmental consultants

This Practice Note is part of the Environmental transactions asset purchase toolkit. It has been produced in partnership with ELM Law.

Technical due diligence

If there are known or suspected non-compliance or land contamination concerns, the buyer or ideally its lawyers might instruct an environmental consultancy firm to undertake a phase 1 EHS compliance audit or intrusive phase 2 testing to assess the liability and financial risks.

Types of environmental audits

The table below summarises the different types of environmental audits:

Type of reportWhat is coveredTypical price (exc VAT)Timescale
Desktop searchHistoric uses


Environmental permits

Pollution incidents

Ground stability

Contaminated land risk screening report £150 

Combined contaminated land and flooding search £245–£295
1–3 days
Basic phase 1 auditDesktop search

Site walk over

Management interview

Regulator replies
£900–£1,8005–10 days
Detailed phase 1 environment, health and safety (EHS) auditAs phase 1 plus:

Review of reports

Review of operational controls and systems

Key health and safety compliance issues

Assessment of capex investment
£2,500–£4,0005–10 days
Asbestos surveyManagement Asbestos Survey

Demolition or Refurbishment Survey

Asbestos register
£2,000–£5,0007–10 days
Phase 2 reportIntrusive testing

Soil, water and gas
Price can vary significantly according to the site and scope of work from £5,000 to £40,000

Typically £15,000–£20,000
6–8 weeks

For more information, see Practice Note: Environmental investigations—types of searches and investigations.

Environmental desktop searches

The Law Society advises solicitors to carry out desktop searches in all transactions involving property to investigate contaminated land and flooding risks. This includes asset purchase transactions where the target owns or occupies

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