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Living and breathing contamination

19 Aug 2016   |   0 Comments

The Environment Agency estimate that around 300,000 hectares of land in England and Wales is affected, to some extent, by industrial contamination. In areas where space is at a premium, old industrial sites are often reclaimed for housing. While it is great that more new houses are being constructed, it is important for home buyers to be made aware of the historical land use. If the original polluter of the contaminated land cannot be found, the new owner of the land may be liable for cleaning it up. In some cases, this can cost over £1,000 per tonne of soil.

Contaminated land can cause health risks as well as potentially huge financial liabilities. Exposure to contaminants through inhalation of dust or gases, contact with the soil, or any food grown from the earth will result in health issues. Furthermore pollutants draining from the site in liquid form can infect groundwater and nearby water sources.

Recently MP’s have warned that public health is at risk due to ministers failing to protect Britain’s soils. The Government have decided to withdraw funding for local authorities to decontaminate polluted land. During 2009-2010 funding to decontaminate polluted land was £17.5m.  By 2013this had fallen to £2m. It was then further reduced to £0.5m in 2014. Plans are in place to phase it out completely by April 2017.

Thankfully in most cases, the risk from living on previously used land is low. However, a perceived risk can severely affect the value of a property. Here at CDS, we have a range of reports designed to ensure that your client is receiving an accurate picture of their property. Along with Groundsure, we can provide vital Homebuyers and Homescreen reports which highlight the dangers of potential contamination to your client’s dream home. To request a sample or speak to us further, please contact us


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