Environmental searches

If you are buying or selling a property you will need to consider the possibility that the land may have been contaminated by a previous use of the site. Conveyancing solicitors are duty bound to carry out an environmental search to find out if there are potential contamination issues at a particular property.

Environmental searches may be obtained from various companies. These companies keep large databases of environmental information which detail various previous land-uses that may indicate the existence of potential contamination. If these companies are satisfied that there are no potential contamination issues at a property, they will issue a 'pass certificate'.

However, should there be a potential problem or liability, search companies may not provide a pass certificate but will advise consultation with the Council's Environmental Health team to obtain further information.

Wycombe District Council records

We hold a wide range of information which is often more detailed than that provided by the search companies. This information includes details of historic land uses, closed landfill sites and, in some cases, ground investigations (i.e. soil testing) that have been carried out onsite or nearby.

We can provide written responses to requests for information about contamination issues at a property. A basic search (suitable for most enquiries) costs £50 and a more detailed and specialist search (desk study) costs £100. Please note that if a site is identified as having a past industrial use, it may require detailed inspection by the Council as part of our Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy.

Only after this detailed inspection has been completed, can we give an opinion on the level of risk and comment on the likelihood of a property being determined as contaminated land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Until this stage is reached we are only able to provide factual information about a site, so that any prospective purchaser can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed.

You may wish to consider options such as employing a competent environmental consultant for further advice. You may also be able to obtain insurance to cover the risks arising from potential contamination.

Request contaminated land information

Please contact us to request site information regarding contaminated land and past industrial land use. In the first instance we will require a site location map or full address and a list of questions.

Please note that we aim to respond to environmental enquiries within ten working days.

Contact information

  • Telephone: 01494 412 247