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
  • 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
  • Remediation reports
  • More...

Purpose of environmental searches and investigations

Environmental investigations are carried out for several 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 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990)

    2. the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (England) Regulations 2015 (EDR England), SI 2015/810

    3. the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations 2009 (EDR Wales), SI 2009/995

    4. the environmental permitting regime set out in the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/1154 (as amended by the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) (Amendments) (No 2) 2018, SI 2018/428)

    5. nature conservation regime set out in the Wildlife

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