The programme, called an ‘Active Transfer’ allows owners of brownfield land to transfer responsibility for managing their associated environmental obligations, known and unknown, to a third party.

This is the first ever environmental liability transfer undertaken outside of the USA.

The site involved in the deal was a former Kodak chemical site in Liverpool. WSP contractually assumed the obligation for cleaning up the site, including any cost overruns and third party claims.

The ground-breaking process reduced remediation costs and unlocked a regeneration scheme that currently hosts six businesses, employing around 140 staff.

The agreement saw WSP take on Kodak’s environmental obligations, paving the way for the sale of the 500,000 square foot site to Acorn Developments Ltd, a subsidiary of International Process Plants and Equipment (IPPE).

Acorn Developments Ltd is headquartered in New Jersey, US, specialising in the purchase of industrial plant, facilities and processes across the world.

IPP Europe site manager and managing director Tony Field, said: “The Active Transfer model enabled both seller and purchaser to achieve their stated objectives;

“Kodak to fully transfer their environmental liabilities and responsibly exit the site and IPPE to secure a site where we could optimise the existing process plant and equipment and secure regeneration and job creation.

“We valued the fact that WSP could draw on its experience in the US, where the scheme is a well- recognised vehicle for unlocking the value of contaminated land.”

WSP Environment & Energy MD, Stuart McLachlan, said: “We expect Active Transfer to become increasingly accepted outside the US as a robust solution for companies looking to be released from the historical legacy of contaminated land liabilities in a responsible manner.”

Alison Brown

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