Most land and development opportunities are sold as seen, but what you see is not always what you get. What lies hidden beneath the surface is always a concern for developers, but never more so than when developments are proposed for brownfield land.
Britain’s complex geology and long history
It is said that hardly an inch of this island has not been re-shaped by man several times over. With land prices, immigration and housing shortages now threatening to spiral out of control, developers are being encouraged to move onto land that is relatively unfamiliar.
The government is committed to making as much marginal land available for development as possible; to this end, it is accelerating planning processes and subsidising many developments.
What the government is not doing is relaxing environmental controls or underwriting investors’ mistakes. When toxic threats or obstructions are discovered, it is up to developers to somehow make good.
Far better than calling in land remediation services when a problem is encountered is to call them at the outset for a risk assessment survey.
Many dangers are invisible on any cursory viewing of a vacant lot. Land that looks sound on the day you inspect it may be prone to flooding on others, which has more to do with underlying and nearby geology than with the proximity of any river. Other geological problems include sinkholes, subsidence and radon.
Remains of human activity could also lie beneath the surface. Even if the site has recently been used for a harmless human activity, do you know what it was used for prior to this? Beneath a demolished retail store may lay the remains of a former gas works and all the contamination that it left behind. New excavation work could disturb these remains, liberating asbestos into the air and heavy metals into waterways.
Soil remediation services
Soil remediation services which is carried out by companies such as https://soilfix.co.uk/services/soil-groundwater-remediation start by searching the history and environment of your plot, which is often sufficient to green-light the site or identify risks. If advised, a site inspection will identify superficial debris that could raise issues with the Environment Agency; if merited, soil samples will be tested for underlying pollutants.
Project timing and logistics make the difference between profitable enterprises and ruinous ones. Forewarned is forearmed, enabling you to factor all issues into your project plan.