Environmental investigations—types of searches and investigations
Produced in partnership with Argyll Environmental Ltd
Environmental investigations—types of searches and investigations

The following Environment practice note Produced in partnership with Argyll Environmental Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental investigations—types of searches and investigations
  • Brexit impact
  • Purpose of environmental searches and investigations
  • Levels of reporting
  • Law Society practice note on contaminated land
  • Enquiries of the regulatory bodies
  • Desktop screening reports
  • Phase 1 investigations and audits
  • Phase 2 site investigations
  • Additional environmental searches
  • More...

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Purpose of environmental searches and investigations

Environmental investigations are carried out for a number of reasons. The cost, detail and scope of an investigation will vary depending upon its purpose. Generally, all reports from desktop through to intrusive investigations aim to provide a qualitative and/or quantitative risk assessment to assess potential impacts to human health, buildings and services, eco-receptors or controlled waters.

Environmental searches and investigations also allow those involved in land transactions to go into that transaction fully appraised of potential legal liabilities that might arise as a result of historical or current uses of that land.

The scope for undertaking an investigation depends on the terms of the transaction, how risk averse the client is, the budget and the characteristics and environmental setting of the site.

However, an investigation is usually instructed:

  1. to clarify liabilities under a range of regimes and laws, including:

    1. the contaminated land regime set out in Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA

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