Ever thought about the land under your feet? Do you know the history of the land surrounding your house? More and more land in the UK is being identified as contaminated land. Whilst contamination doesn't always have a detrimental effect your health, it can on your wallet.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 land which can cause or is causing significant harm or is polluting or likely to pollute controlled waters due to the presence of substances is classified as being contaminated. Various historic industries used a variety of chemicals and before the world went 'green' these chemicals were not always disposed of carefully.
Primary responsibility lies with the original contaminator or the person who knowingly permits the contamination of land, even if they are no longer the owner. The problem, however, arises if that person can no longer be found. When this happens it is down to the current land owner or occupier to meet the clean-up costs.
Even if your house wasn't built on a derelict petrol station or the like, you should still take care, contaminating substances don't respect boundaries. If your land has become contaminated through this means then primarily the original contaminator will be liable but liability could still pass to you.
How can you protect against this?
By conducting an environmental report before you buy, you will gain invaluable knowledge about the land which surrounds your prospective property. We carry out an environmental search as part of the buying process.
If you have already bought land which you believe may be at risk or have been notified of a risk by the local authority, then please get in touch with any of our property team to see how we can help.