WHAT IS A

DESK STUDY?

A Phase 1 Desk Study, also known as a Preliminary Risk Assessment, should be the first stage in any Environmental Assessment. As detailed within the Environment Agency’s Contaminated Land Report 11 (CLR11), the purpose of this work is to determine if there are any potentially unacceptable risks to site users, or the surrounding environment.

WHAT IS INVOLVED?

A Desk Study involves the collection and review of many different sources of information, including: local authority registers, environmental databases, geological maps and historic records.  A site walkover is also undertaken to identify any specific sources of contamination and to collect relevant photographs.

 

This information is compiled to produce a Conceptual Site Model (CSM).  There are three essential elements to the concept of risk in the context of land contamination, which combine to form a ‘contaminant linkage’.  In order for a contaminant linkage to be active, all three of the following elements must be present:

Source: The location from which a contaminative substance is derived

Pathway: A route or means by which a receptor could be exposed to a source

Receptor: Something that could be adversely affected by a contaminant, e.g. a person, property or watercourse

WHY COMPLETE A DESK STUDY?

  • Evaluating risks from contamination at the earliest opportunity can save time and money by avoiding unnecessary investigative work. 

  • By determining the contaminants of concern that are likely (and unlikely) to be present, the need for costly generic laboratory analysis can be greatly reduced.

WHERE MIGHT A DESK STUDY BE REQUIRED?

  • Where a planning application is sought for a site that has been previously developed, or has a proposed sensitive end use (i.e. residential).

  • To satisfy the requirements of the National House Building Council, or other warranty provider.

  • As part of due diligence work ahead of a property acquisition.

  • To provide information to banks and mortgage providers when lending against a property.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • Site walkover and visual inspection

  • Data collection including Envirocheck report and historic maps

  • Review of Local Authority and Environment Agency public databases

  • Analysis of geological, hydrogeological, topographical maps

  • Incorporation of indicative proposed development plans

  • Development of Conceptual Site Model and Preliminary Risk Assessment

For further information on the Desk Study process and to discuss your site's potential, feel free to contact us.

IS YOUR SITE IN THE EPPING FOREST DISTRICT?

Good news!  We've produced a handy guide to navigating planning conditions for contamination in this area.

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Sequoia Environmental Ltd.

4 Quern House

Mill Court

Great Shelford

Cambridge

CB22 5LD

Company Number 10869372