Environmental assessments can minimise risk
Environment legislation is getting progressively more onerous and should always be considered by organisations and individuals looking to invest in commercial property.
The guiding principle behind statutory requirements for remediation of contamination is that the polluter should pay. If however, the polluter no longer exists, the Environment Agency’s next port of call could be the landowner or occupier at the time of the enforcement action where Local Authorities tend to make remindation a condition for the grant of future planning consent.
It is therefore vital that anyone looking to purchase property should do an appropriate environmental assessment to minimise the risk that the land might be contaminated. Buyers also need to be aware of provisions in the contract pack that pass the liability to pay for clearing up of all historic contamination to them. It is possible for parties to agree between themselves how any future claim against them by a statutory authority will be paid for. We regularly advise both buyers and sellers on how this can best be done given the commercial terms of each particular deal.