Developers’ contamination nightmare
Problems associated with land contamination can cast a very long shadow for developers.
Under environmental protection law, there is an ongoing risk that they could be served with a remediation notice many years after finishing a development.
This is exactly what had happened in a case that went to the High Court not so long ago. Land that had previously been used as a landfill site was found to be contaminated 20 years after the developer had sold off the last plot.
The court ruled that a developer could be made liable if he knew about the original substance causing the contamination.
In this particular case, not surprisingly so long after the event, the local authority and the developer had real problems producing evidence to show whether the developer had had the relevant knowledge at the relevant time or not.
One of our commercial property solicitor comments: “This case was a good reminder of the need to keep proper documentary records, especially where there is a greater risk of potential contamination.”
As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.