IKM Consulting Engineering & Environmental Consultants

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Contaminated Land Assessments2024-03-20T13:00:54+00:00

Contaminated Land Assessments

Contaminated Land Assessments are often a part of Land development planning (LDP), and it’s a field with strict legislation and standards.

Our contaminated land consultants are SiLC, RSoBRA, and ASoBRA accredited and adopt a collaborative approach with clients and design teams to understand at an early stage, the feasibility, opportunities and constraints associated with changing the end use of a brownfield site.

Our team can provide technical input to master planning or the detailed design process to optimise land value and discharge planning conditions.

Phase 1 Environmental Desk Study/ Tier 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA)

Contaminated Land Consultants

A Contaminated Land Assessment begins with a Phase 1 Environmental Desk Study/Tier 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA).

Our contaminated land team review the site’s historical, geological and environmental use by compiling Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photos, geological records, groundwater maps and Regulatory records.

This information is used to develop a Preliminary Conceptual Site Model (CSM) to set out potential contamination sources, pathways and receptors that could present potential risks to human health, ecosystems, water environment/controlled waters and water supply pipes. The desk study will identify:

  • Whether potential sources of contamination /pathways/receptors may be present on the site or nearby.
  • The consequence or severity of contamination
  • The risks posed by these hazards to users and the environment.

What’s Included in a Phase 1 Contaminated Land Survey?

phase 1 contaminated land report
What happens once the phase 1 desk study is complete?2023-07-27T18:33:49+01:00

We find that in most cases the phase 1 risk assessment is sufficient to satisfy the Local Authority/Building Control  that the risks are sufficiently low and no further work is required.

Once the local authority has reviewed the report, they will either discharge the planning condition or alternatively, request further data collection,  a phase 2 site investigation or remediation/mitigation.


How long does a Phase 1 Desk Study take?2023-07-27T18:17:50+01:00

A desk study will typically take 5-7 business days depending on if a site walkover is required.  If a site walkover is required then delivery will usually be 5-7 days following the walkover.

How do I know if I need a Phase 1 Contaminated Land Assessment?2023-07-27T17:30:00+01:00

You should always understand legacy issues relating to the land you are looking to develop or change the end-use of.  Typically, you should commission a desk-study if:

You’re Developing a site (Planning Consent)
Before any development can proceed the local authority generally requires a desk study/preliminary risk assessment to be completed for planning permission to be granted. The desk study information is shared with Planning Departments, Contaminated Land Officers (CLO), the local Environmental Regulator, and Building Control Departments.

You’re Buying or selling a commercial/industrial property (Due Diligence)
Before completion of property transactions, we recommend undertaking a desk study to ensure that any previous use of the site and potential risk of contamination is identified and evaluated. This helps buyers make informed decisions regarding potential liabilities associated with the property.

What is a site walkover? Do I need one?2023-07-27T17:31:02+01:00

A site walkover is conducted by a qualified and experienced Contaminated Land Consultant.  IKM will visit your site to check and verify the current condition of the land. Our consultant will take photos to create a record of the site’s condition.  We’ll provide observations which will form part of the phase 1 environmental report.  Many Local Authorities specify that this walkover must be undertaken by an independent and qualified person, rather than the landowner.

How do I know if I need a site walkover?

You should refer to your planning decision notice. If you are unsure, IKM are happy to review the planning condition during a free 15 minute consultation.

Planning conditions do not always reference a site walkover, however to ensure a thorough investigation and assessment is made, we recommend undertaking one.  Typical sites that require a walkover can include land with current or former industrial uses, petrol stations, car parks and garages (commercial and residential).

Will IKM liaise with my local authority?2023-07-27T17:38:03+01:00

Yes, one of IKM’s consultants will contact the Contaminated Land Officer at the relevant local authority to discuss your site and any relevant conditions or requests for additional information/areas of concern.

Local Authority Land Planning Conditions – are they all the same?2023-07-27T17:46:44+01:00

In general, the demands from most local authority contaminated land departments are similar and in line with CLR11 planning guidance.

However, we have also experienced certain local authorities that have specific requirements or data to be included within the Phase 1 report.  You should be aware that if this is the case, the authority can take up to 20-30 working days to respond.

There is no contamination on my site – why do I need a report?2023-07-27T18:02:34+01:00

Unless you have previously undertaken a historical assessment it can be hard to guarantee that no contamination exists on your site.  Some Local Authorities require that a phase 1 desk study is submitted with each and every application to confirm that there is no risk of contamination being present.

More commonly the report is requested to support the discharge of a planning condition. This condition will have been added at the request of the Contaminated Land or Building Control teams because records held by the local authority give them reason to believe there are historic uses which may have caused contamination.

Your proposal for the future use of the site is also a factor in determining planning conditions.  For example, if your land has previously been used for commercial use and you’re proposed to change the end-use to a residential site, then this is a more sensitive end-use that requires more consideration in respect of potential contamination.

Phase 2 Contaminated Land Ground Investigation

IKM will design and supervise ground investigations to address identified risks from the Phase 1 desk study and preliminary conceptual site model. We can also provide a comprehensive project management service to ensure that trial pits, boreholes, sampling, rotary drilling, insitu testing and collection of samples for geotechnical and contamination testing are appropriate to the project and environment. Our team are SiLC, RSoBRA and ASoBRA accredited.

Our risk assessment experience of both generic quantitative risk assessment (GQRA) and detailed quantitative risk assessment (DQRA) ranges from simple to complex assessments across a variety of contaminated land sites, including, petrol stations, oil storage facilities, gas works and papermills. Our team is experienced in the use of specialist software and liaise regularly with statutory bodies, Local Planning Authorities, and other stakeholders on behalf of our clients.

Contaminated Land Consultants

Phase 3 Options Appraisal & Remediation Strategy


If the quantitative risk assessment suggests there are significant potential risks to human health, water environment/ controlled waters, and ecosystems, or if there is ground gas, then a Phase 3 remediation options appraisal and remediation strategy will be required. During this phase, IKM assesses the best remedial options to break or eliminate potential complete pollutant linkages, as well as considering stakeholder aspirations, local constraints, and the most sustainable solutions.

IKM can also review third-party investigations to provide assurance that the methods and assumptions are appropriate, and findings correct prior to developing the Remediation Options Appraisal.

During this phase, and in consultation with the client and regulators, IKM can identify preferred options, prepare the remedial strategy detailing how works will take place, define validation and verification requirements, and prepare a residual conceptual site model for Regulatory approval.

We can also then support with tender preparation and review on behalf of our client.

phase 3 contaminated land remediation

Phase 4 Supervision Verification & Validation

IKM is experienced at providing full or part-time supervision of remediation works, including:

  • Advice and direction onsite
  • Stakeholder liaison
  • Preparation of validation reports

Our team is accredited to inspect gas protection membranes.

Our team has worked on brownfield sites across the UK, dealing with:

  • Hydrocarbons
  • Metals
  • Asbestos in soil
  • Gasworks related wastes
  • Other contaminants of concern

Onsite Testing

Our team are leaders in the use of onsite testing equipment, with over 15 years’ experience. This approach provides a responsive, cost-effective method for delineating contamination, which is particularly useful in large scale remediation projects.

Approved by stakeholders, this approach can also be used to validate works following remediation, with minimal laboratory analysis required.

onsite contaminated land testing

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