1 in 10 homes on contaminated land have problems

Research commissioned by LV= home insurance company claims that one in ten homes built on brownfield sites have had problems due to the land they were built on.

The research, carried out by Zennor Consultants and Opinium reports that 74,000 homes built on brownfield sites have suffered flooding, contamination, poor drainage and sewage problems over the last ten years.

It found that the former sites of heavy industrial processes such as iron smelting or coal mining are among the riskiest types of land to build on.

It says that up to a fifth of all sites in England and Wales need treatment to be made safe for human habitation. In 2010 as many as 20,000 homes were built on land that was at one point contaminated by industrial waste.

The insurance company says that potential buyers should check the previous use of the land a house is built on before committing to a purchase. It also recommends purchasers commission a full environmental report to ensure they do not experience problems once they’ve moved in.

LV= managing director, John O’Roarke, said “It is vital that we continue to protect greenbelt land and that new uses can be found for brownfield sites, especially where there is a shortage of affordable housing.

“However, with many new properties being built on second-hand land, it’s vital that potential buyers carry out adequate checks to find out what their new property is built on so they are aware of the risks.

“Regardless of when the property is built, it’s always a good idea to get a structural survey when purchasing a property and to discuss any potential issues with their insurer to ensure they have adequate cover for their new home.”

Alison Brown

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