Important of Environmental History Search in Purchasing Properties
The environmental search looks at the general area in which the property is located. This search investigates both natural terrain (like flood plains) and also man-made creations such as radio masts.
Existing and former Local Authority landfill sites will be re- vealed by the search. Landfill is general household waste which is collected and stored in spare land (such as a dis- used quarry) which, when full, is landscaped over. It is sur- prising where these turn up. Landfill will have an impact on the value of the property. The distance from the property of these facilities is given in metres.
Many landfill sites come with waste management facilities. These may be centers that manage the waste into other sites. Again the distance is given in meters.
Waste may be kept in holding areas for permanent landfill later. These are known as Waste Transfer sites and may show up in the environmental search. You need to be aware of site traffic levels.
Alternative landfill sites come with the facility for Waste Treatment and Disposal. These enable the waste to be compressed and disposed of more efficiently.
Many factories, shops and surgeries have emissions to air. Licences are needed for this from the Local Authority. Once the licences are granted, the activity is noted on the register and these show up in the search.
If there are discharges to water this is also a notable activity.
The search is also historical. It is important to know what the surrounding land was used for. While past industrial land use may not affect a residential property, it may have an impact on a commercial use such as a nursery or organic market garden.
Where there is current industrial land use this will be noted on the register.
If there is natural ground instability, the risk level will be measured as low, moderate or high. If high, it may be seen by your surveyor. If it is not, ask specifically about this.
If the environmental search shows up a source protection zone then there is a water source that has to be protected. If your property is close by, it may impact what you can and cannot do on the land.
The likelihood of flooding is assessed by grade within the search. Insurance companies have access to these resources and a high risk flood area may affect insurance premiums.
Radio masts located near the property or close to local schools are of particular importance. Their presence may put some people off buying the property.
Cottage industries may have now disappeared or moved to large scale sites but potentially contaminants may still be present in the land.
If there were potentially contaminated industrial sites on the land, then this WILL have an impact on the price of the property.
Gas, petrol and fuel sites show up in this search.
If any dangerous substance inventory sites are near they will be revealed in the search. This can be storage of chemicals or other hazardous materials, often from hospitals.
Coal Mining Report
Not likely to be required in the city center, although Bristol is a known exception, but useful for rural areas. The local search will tell us if a coal mining search is necessary. However, local knowledge is also relevant.
The coal mining search will fall into a number of categories:
Past Underground Mining: The property is/is not within the zone of likely physical influence on the surface from past underground coal workings.
Present Underground Mining: The property is/is not within the zone of likely physical influence on the surface from any present underground coal workings
Future Underground Mining: The property is/is not within a geographical area for which a licence to extract coal by underground methods is awaiting determination by the
Coal Authority, or the property is not within a geographical area for which a licence to extract coal by underground methods has been granted.