What is Contaminated Land?

Contaminated Land is common to find in brownfield land and places where there has been past industrial use, due to potentially hazardous substances being previously present in the area. However, it is not uncommon for greenfield land to be contaminated, which is why we recommend assessments to look at the likelihood the area is affected by contamination.

Choose the right report for you

Looking for the right contaminated land package for you? At GeoSmart, we have three assessment options, all giving clear management options for contaminated land and fast delivery times to help you prepare to manage risks that may occur on developments. Find out more about our different report options below.

* pricing based on site size, location & complexity
Features includedEnviroSmart
From £995+VAT*
Get a quote
EnviroSmart Plus
From £1,395+VAT* Get a quote
EnviroSmart Pro
From £1,895+VAT* Get a quote
Consultant’s professional opinion
£5 million PI insurance
Consultation with local authorities
Considers redevelopment or change of use
Manual review of detailed historic maps
Fast delivery time (working days) **5-105-10 from date of site visit 15-30
Expert help to discharge planning condition
Supports Architects, Developers, Planning Consultants and the Legal Market
Site walkover/reconnaissance visit
Detailed review of planning history and available borehole logs

* pricing based on site size, location & complexity
** Expedited turnarounds are available on request

Land is identified as contaminated if:

  • It has been affected by a pollutant, which is known as the source.
  • It is possible that someone or something, known as the receptor, is present that could be affected by the pollutant.
  • The pollutant can get to the receptor in sufficient quantities that have the potential to cause harm.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Phase 1 Contaminated Land Report is a literature-based review designed to give an overview of the risk of land or groundwater contamination to end-users (house occupiers or workers) and the immediate environment.

A Phase 1 Study collates relevant information from a variety of sources relating to the setting of the site and its previous historical uses. The end product is an interpretive environmental report that contains a qualitative risk assessment, including a conceptual site model that describes the potentially significant sources of land and soil contamination, receptors and pathways.

The contaminated land survey involves multiple sources of information often including Ordnance Survey maps, geological and groundwater vulnerability maps, aerial photographs, local and national archives, and newspapers and registers held by relevant regulatory agencies. A site walkover (land investigation) may be required to support the collated desk-based information, to provide details of the current condition of the site, and to gather evidence of potential land contamination.

When a site walkover is requested, we will generally conduct the walkover following the initial desk study to ensure a ‘best value’ approach in meeting regulations and individual report needs.

A Phase 1 Study collates relevant information from a variety of sources relating to the site setting and its previous historical uses. The end product is an interpretive report that describes the likely presence of any contamination within the subsurface, and the potential risks that this may pose to future site users and the immediate environment. A site walkover may be required to support the desk study information and to provide greater certainty in the report findings.


  • Property developers
  • Self-build
  • Property professionals such as architects, planning consultants and land agents
  • Lawyers and solicitors
  • Lenders, banks or mortgage providers
  • Businesses
  • Insurance companies

  • Validating planning applications
  • Meeting planning conditions
  • For land and property purchase
  • For the sale or divestment of a site
  • Due diligence
  • Lending, mortgages, pension funds
  • Business risk assessment

If land is highlighted by the local planning authority as potentially being contaminated, the authority’s Contaminated Land Officer is likely to impose a planning condition that an assessment must be completed for clarification. Until that assessment has been completed and accepted by the Contaminated Land Officer, the development should not proceed.

The original polluter of the land is officially the person or organisation responsible for any liabilities relating to land contamination. As the pollution may have occurred decades earlier, potentially prior to legislation, this person or organisation may never be found and it is therefore the new owner who will be responsible. It is essential that the person responsible for undertaking the property purchase or development, and their legal advisor, understands the degree of risks and potential financial implications.

Each local authority has a general responsibility for identifying and deciding on necessary actions in relation to contaminated land in its area. Land can potentially be sold when contaminated and the responsibility may end up being passed onto the new owner, or indeed a bank or mortgage lender if the new purchaser was to default. In summary, professional advice should always be sought prior to purchase on any previously developed land.

Still have questions? Chat to our friendly team today

Additional services available

  • Initial exploratory investigations
  • Phase 2 Assessments and DQRA
  • Geotechnical assessments UXO (prelim and desk study)
  • Mining searches
  • Soil Survey and soil contamination testing
  • Support for building regulations
  • Ecology/ecological surveys
  • Bat survey

Did you know, we also provide reports for:

Flood Risk


FloodSmart Plus

FloodSmart Pro

Sustainable Drainage


SudSmart Plus

SudSmart Pro

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