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Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another. It can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it's important to understand all aspects before beginning.

One important aspect of conveyancing is environmental search, which assesses the risk of contamination or other environmental issues at the property.

Here's what you need to know about environmental search in conveyancing.

What Is an Environmental Search?

An environmental search is a report that the conveyancer commissions to assess the risk of contamination or other environmental issues at the property. The report will identify potential

risks and make recommendations on how to deal with them.

The search will identify any known environmental risks in the vicinity of the property, such as flood risk, ground stability issues, contaminated land or noise pollution. This information can then help the buyer make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase.

If the environmental search reveals any potential risks, the buyer may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price or may decide to walk away from the deal altogether.

It is important to note that an environmental search is not a survey and will not identify any hidden environmental risks. For this reason, conducting a full survey of the property is always advisable before proceeding with the purchase.

Why Is an Environmental Search Important?

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, buying and selling property has become more complex. To complete a sale, conveyancers must now account for various environmental factors affecting a property.

One of the most important environmental factors to consider is contaminated land. Contaminated land can pose a serious risk to human health and the environment and can cause difficulties in getting insurance coverage.

In order to protect themselves and their clients, conveyancers must carry out an environmental search as part of the conveyancing process. An environmental search will identify any potential property risks and allow the conveyancer to advise their client accordingly.

The environmental search is an important part of conveyancing and should not be overlooked. By taking the time to consider the potential risks associated with a property, conveyancers can help to protect their clients and ensure a smooth and successful sale.

How Does the Environmental Search Work?

There are several ways to conduct an environmental search, but the most common method is to order a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). This assessment is typically conducted by an environmental consultant who will visit the property and collect data on factors such as the presence of hazardous materials, the potential for groundwater contamination and exposure to asbestos or lead-based paint.

Once the data has been collected, the consultant will prepare a report that will be reviewed by the solicitor. They may recommend further testing or investigation if any potential hazards are identified. In some cases, the presence of an environmental risk may be enough to scuttle a deal entirely.

When buying a property, it's important to ensure that an environmental search is conducted as part of your due diligence. This will help ensure that you are aware of any potential hazards that could risk your health and safety.

How Long Does an Environmental Search Take?

The time it takes to carry out an environmental search as part of conveyancing can vary depending on several factors. The search itself is relatively quick to carry out, but the time it takes to receive and assess the results can take longer.

The type of property you buy will affect the time it takes to conduct an environmental search. If the property is located in an area at risk of flooding or other environmental hazards, the search will take longer.

Another factor affecting the time it takes to conduct an environmental search is the type of search you choose. There are several different types of environmental searches available, each one taking a different amount of time to carry out.

The most important factor to consider when choosing an environmental search is the risk associated with the property you are buying. If the property is located in an area at risk of environmental hazards, then you should choose a search that will take this into account.

As you can see, several factors can affect the time it takes to carry out an environmental search. If you are buying a property in an area that is known to be at risk of environmental hazards, then you should choose a search that will take this into account.

What are the Benefits of Environmental Search?

As the world progresses, more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of looking after the environment. This has led to a growing trend in environmental searching when it comes to buying or selling a property.

There are a number of potential benefits of conducting an environmental search, both for the buyer and the seller of a property.

For the buyer, an environmental search can provide peace of mind that they are not buying a property that is at risk of flooding, subsidence or other environmental problems. It can also help to identify any remediation work that may need to be carried out before the property can be occupied.

For the seller, an environmental search can help to demonstrate that the property is not at risk of any environmental problems and can therefore help to achieve a higher sale price.

In general, an environmental search can help to provide transparency and clarity around the environmental risks associated with a property. This information can be precious for both buyers and sellers when making an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with a purchase or sale.

What is the Conveyancing Cost When Doing an Environmental Search?

The conveyancing cost when doing an environmental search can vary depending on the type of search you need and the company you use. Basic searches can start from around £50, while more comprehensive searches can cost several hundred pounds.

It is important to factor the cost of an environmental search into your overall conveyancing budget. This is because the search cost can sometimes be higher than the conveyancing cost.


Awareness of the potential environmental risks when buying a property is important. A good conveyancing solicitor can advise you on the steps you need to take to ensure that you are fully protected against any potential liabilities. Several environmental searches can be carried out, and it is crucial to choose the right one for your needs. The most important thing is to ensure that you are fully informed about the risks before purchasing the property.

If you’re interested in knowing more about conveyancing costs, check out Conveyancing Calculator. We provide instant online conveyancing quotations using our accurate and trusted Conveyancing Fees Calculator UK.


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