Contaminated land risks can impact property value and delay transactions

Land owners, asset mangers and fund managers should be aware of the risks associated with tenant activities that may cause environmental pollution and land contamination.  It is also vitally important for land owners to understand the baseline conditions of brownfield sites during acquisition and lease change, particularly where hazardous activities are conducted, such as petroleum & chemical storage.  Robust environmental due diligence ensures that all stakeholders are aware of baseline soil and groundwater contamination concentrations at the commencement and cessation of lease agreements so that there is no ambiguity as to the responsibility for ground contamination liabilities.

Contaminated land risk and liabilities can arise from a range of current and legacy land uses and activities, including:

  • Fuel storage and handling for heating systems, vehicles, plant and machinery.
  • Organic solvent use in dry cleaning, manufacturing and ancillary processes such as degreasing, surface coating and painting.
  • Metal solutions in surface treatment, electroplating and wood preservation operations.

Import of waste materials for made ground and infill to create level development platforms that may contain a wide range of hazardous materials, including asbestos.

EU Taxonomy & Climate Risk

Asset managers and land owners seeking alignment with the EU Taxonomy will require Climate Risk & Vulnerability Assessments to be completed on their assets to ensure that potential climate hazards have been rigorously assessed according to IPCC climate predictions and guidance, specifically:

  • Identifying climate change hazards that could cause harm to the development (e.g. increased storm rainfall intensity).
  • Aspects of the development that are exposed to the hazard (e.g. property basement and ground floor levels).
  • The vulnerability of the development to the hazard (e.g. whether drainage systems can adapt to extreme rainfall events).

The Taxonomy also requires that Do No Significant Harm (DNSH) and Social Safeguarding requirements are also satisfied:

  • Climate change mitigation & adaptation
  • Circular economy
  • Pollution prevention
  • Water conservation and protection
  • Protection of ecosystems
  • Protection of human rights

Examples where we have added value

Contaminated Land Risk

  • Statutory Receivers appointed over assets with contaminated land risks.
  • Port company negotiating the surrender of leases by three oil companies where contamination required remediation.
  • Port of Cork – constraints and opportunities study for the Tivoli brownfield landbank extending over 60 hectares.
  • Brownfield development projects in Dublin where a range of contaminants were assessed in relation to human health risk and waste management.
  • NAMA – due diligence during the sale of brownfield development sites.

EU Taxonomy & Climate Risk

  • OPW – Climate risk & vulnerability assessment for office refurbishment for the HQ of Dept of Environment, Climate & Communications.
  • Bartra – EU Taxonomy and climate risk assessment for large office campus.