Environmental Due Diligence

Environmental Due Diligence

ECL is a client focused business specialising in environmental compliance and environmental due diligence services. A key requirement is having the ability to identify, assess and manage environmental liabilities associated with particular activities, sites, or infrastructure.

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ECL has a unique combination of experienced staff and technical knowledge to act on behalf of any purchaser, vendor, lender or investor. The level of investigation undertaken is tailored to the needs of the client and proposed transaction.

ECL can undertake the following activities on your behalf:

  • Desk based review of environmental information
  • Environmental site audit of installations, facilities and operations
  • Planning permission due diligence
  • Design and undertake Phase 1 and Phase 2 site investigations
  • Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Remediation services
  • Financial expenditure associated with environmental liabilities and remediation

Environmental liabilities may not be transparent, can be large and there are many examples of purchasers and funders being hit with unforeseen costs or constraints which prevent them from fulfilling their aspirations or for future redevelopment land uses. Unrecognised liabilities relating to land or water contamination, or impending permitting requirements can be costly both in time and money.

ECL’s environmental due diligence services provide benefits to our clients:

  • Environmental knowledge is turned to commercial advantage in land transactions
  • Environmental liabilities are identified and quantified so that they can be managed
  • Financial is maximised
  • Future proof the site

A desk study involves a review of the available background information to establish the potential for environmental liabilities from historical and existing uses of a site which could give rise to any actual or potential contamination issues related to either past or present uses of the land.

The data collated may include site and surrounding land use history, the geology and hydrogeology of the area, flood risk and land sensitivities.

Desk studies are often used as a basic risk-screening tool to determine whether more detailed investigations are required.

Phase 1: Environmental site assessment (ESA) A phase 1 ESA is a report prepared for any property and identifies historical or existing environmental liabilities through a site visit. It is often considered the minimum level of environmental due diligence required for the acquisition or divestiture of land. The assessment typically scrutinises the potential for ground contamination, ground and surface water quality, and the potential for surrounding land uses to impact on the property. Additional examinations may include the identification of possible asbestos containing building materials, other deleterious materials such as polychlorinated biphenyls and hazardous chemical use and storage. However, a phase 1 ESA does not include the collection of any physical samples.

Phase 2: Intrusive site investigation Phase 2 intrusive ground investigations are used to quantify the risks identified in a phase 1 ESA. The data collected from sampling is used to inform a risk assessment. However, phase 2 investigations take time and are therefore not always appropriate in a transaction’s timetable. Careful management of the phase 2 requirements and subsequent findings adds value to the due diligence process by introducing cost-effective, optimised engineering and risk-based solutions specifically tailored to the proposed deal and site conditions.

While there is a clear downside in neglecting to consider environmental risks, there is also the possibility that, on occasion, environmental liabilities may have been over-stated by previously conducted studies. This may result in valuable investment opportunities being missed, especially in relation to contaminated land, where recent changes in legislation have made many redevelopment projects viable. A careful examination of the assumptions underlying existing environmental liability estimates can therefore yield beneficial results.

Our environmental due diligence services offer the following benefits to our clients:

  • Environmental knowledge is turned to commercial advantage in land transactions
  • Environmental liabilities are identified and quantified so that they can be managed
  • Land value is maximised

Contact ECL via our Enquiry Form or call us on 01443 841 760 for any queries regarding our wide range of environmental support services such as environmental due diligence, training, environmental management systems and environmental management assistance.