Q&As

If one parcel of land of several (comprising other land as part of a land promotion agreement) is potentially contaminated land and there is one sale contract for all parcels, will the owners of the non-contaminated land assume any additional liabilities under environmental law for contaminated land?

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Published on LexisPSL on 17/08/2016

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If one parcel of land of several (comprising other land as part of a land promotion agreement) is potentially contaminated land and there is one sale contract for all parcels, will the owners of the non-contaminated land assume any additional liabilities under environmental law for contaminated land?
  • Contaminated land
  • Liability
  • Practical steps
  • Further reading

If one parcel of land of several (comprising other land as part of a land promotion agreement) is potentially contaminated land and there is one sale contract for all parcels, will the owners of the non-contaminated land assume any additional liabilities under environmental law for contaminated land?

Contaminated land

Contaminated land must pose 'unacceptable risks' to human health or the environment. As a minimum, land should not be capable of being determined as contaminated land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990)—see Practice Note: Contaminated land—definition of contaminated land.

Liability

Liability for contaminated land under Part IIA of the EPA 1990 attaches in the first instance to causers and knowing permitters of contamination (Class A persons), and where no Class A person can be found to owners and occupiers (Class B persons).

For Class A persons, the concept of 'knowingly permitting' requires (House of Lords, Hansard, 11 July 1995, col 1497):

  1. knowledge that the substances in question were in, on or under the land, and

  2. power to prevent such a substance from being there

The owners of the

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