The Commercial Property Search Report, developed between the Environment
Agency and consultancy firm Groundsure, can reveal all manner of hidden obstacles to
development such as contamination by heavy metals, radon and other hazardous
substances, as well as liability to flooding and subsidence.

The report, a detailed extension of the existing audit for residential properties and
investments, acts as a one-stop-shop for information and comes from Property
, part of the Environment Agency.

Ann Conway-Hughes, managing director of Property Search, said: “There are
thousands of companies that are either advising on or investing in commercial sites without
full historic knowledge of the land.”

“Without a comprehensive report on the site there is no way of knowing if, what looks
like a site that is ripe for development, could end up costing a fortune.”

She stressed that finding out about ‘dirty’ land issues after the event could land
companies with expensive remedial works, delayed construction and even a damaged

“No one wants to be caught out having made a bad business decision,” she added. “A
simple telephone call [to the Environment Agency] will tell property specialists whether
they are making a sound business investment or taking a huge business risk.”

David Hopkins

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