Environmental Due Diligence

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ECL is a client focused environmental consultancy specialising in complete environmental compliance including environmental due diligence services.

A key requirement in environmental due diligence is having the ability to identify, assess and manage environmental liabilities associated with particular activities, sites, or infrastructure.

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


What Is Environmental Due Diligence?

Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) is a systematic procedure for evaluating corporate land and property for the possibility of environmental contamination risks.

Environmental due diligence is used as the formal process to assess sites for the presence of hazardous materials, non-compliance issues and environmental risks, such as soil, groundwater and land contamination.

It essentially aims to provide information regarding the environmental liability of both land and property transactions.

If your business is considering making a land acquisition, you’ll want to be sure and have piece of mind that your investment is a safe rather than resulting in legal liabilities. Hidden environmental liabilities can be catastrophic to a business, with the potential in some cases, of costing millions of pounds to companies who fail to conduct thorough due diligence.

A due diligence audit report will give you the assurance needed that the risks and liabilities associated with your potential new site have been properly assessed.


What Legislation Affects Due Diligence?

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (Part 2A) documents the framework and regulations required for environmental due diligence, dealing with the risks posed to the environment and human health by contaminated land and determines which type of assessment may be required for the land/property. 

Other environmental legislation to be aware of include:


How ECL Can Help

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.

As mentioned above, these unrecognised liabilities relating to land or water contamination, or impending permitting requirements can be costly both in time and money.

ECL can support your Environmental Due Diligence requirements and 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 Assessments
  • Remediation Services
  • Financial expenditure associated with environmental liabilities and remediation


What Is The Environmental Due Diligence Process?

Desk Study: 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: An Environmental Site Assessment (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.

A phase 1 ESA does not include the collection of any physical samples.


Phase 2: Intrusive Site Investigations or Phase 2 Intrusive Ground Investigations are used to quantify the risks identified in a phase 1 ESA.

The data collected from sampling is then used to inform a risk assessment.

Careful management of the phase 2 requirements and subsequent findings adds value to the environmental due diligence process by introducing cost-effective, optimised engineering and risk-based solutions specifically tailored to the proposed deal and site conditions.

Phase 2 investigations can take time and are therefore not always appropriate in a transaction’s timetable.


Phase 3: A Phase 3 ESA is the remediation phase and is only necessary when site contamination is found during the Phase 2 investigation. If none is found then phase 3 isn’t required.

If contamination is discovered, then an action plan must to be put in place for the remediation to progress. 

The first goal of phase 3 is to delineate (investigation of the areas where the contamination exists) the physical extent of exposure based on the recommendations made during the phase 2 evaluation. It will also detail a full scope of options for all involved parties and the costs and time associated with the sites cleanup.

This phase often includes diligent preparation, Dispersion Modeling and sampling of the site and commonly involves the overall evaluation and actions of approaching clean up of the site, costs and logistics. Timescales, regulations and costings are also reviewed during this phase to ensure the site achieves complete regulatory compliance through the most appropriate means. 

Environmental Monitoring Services or Geo-Environmental Services may then be required to conduct additional testing to determine the extent of pollution on the potential property. This could include actions such as Ambient Air Monitoring, Groundwater Monitoring, Environmental Compliance Monitoring or Soil Assessments.

The overall purpose of a phase 3 assessment is to remove all traces of contamination.


Your Experts In Environmental Due Diligence

ECL specialise in supporting various highly regulated sectors and industries and our expert environmental consultants regularly help clients understand and mitigate environmental and regulatory challenges.

Whether you are buying or selling a piece of land or a business, ECL can help you identify and understand the liabilities and  environmental risks associated with the transaction. 

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:

  • Highlights areas that may need attention, improvement and compliance
  • Environmental knowledge is turned to commercial advantage in land transactions
  • Environmental liabilities are identified and quantified so that they can be managed
  • Provides a professional second opinion from experienced environmental professionals
  • Eliminates or minimises potential environmental risks
  • Future proofing of the site
  • Financial is maximised

Contact ECL via our Enquiry Form or call us on 01443 801215 for any queries regarding our wide range of Environmental Consultancy Services such as Environmental Permitting, Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Management Assistance and Environmental Impact Assessments.