Local authorities regularly instruct Harrison Grant to assist them in the legal issues that arise at contaminated sites. This includes in their role as regulator under the contaminated land regime (Part 2A), dealing with sites going through the planning process and when they are buying or selling land that may be potentially contaminated.
We are well known for our advice to local authorities in relation to Part 2A. Andrew Wiseman acted on the first site to be identified under the contaminated land regime back in 2000 and since then has acted for numerous local authorities around the country in their capacity as regulator. Our involvement can include assisting on whether the site meets the formal definition under Part 2A of contaminated land, drafting the necessary documents including the written record of determination and any remediation notice, advising on who has liability and negotiating with those who may have liability. Andrew Wiseman is the Chair of DEFRA’s Expert Panel on Contaminated Land (the only lawyer on the panel).
Often the remediation of contaminated land is managed through the planning process. We can assist local authorities in drafting the necessary planning conditions to achieve remediation, ensure the conditions are enforced, advise on the legal issues arising out of viability assessments and the enforcement of planning conditions to ensure the site is adequately remediated.
A local authority can have liability for the remediation of land they currently or formerly owned under Part 2A. We regularly advise public bodies on their potential liabilities. When buying or selling land it is essential that environmental issues are taken into account and the local authority ensure land contamination issues are managed through the process. We can assist in the due diligence process, drafting and negotiating suitable clauses allocating liability and advising on managing any residual environmental risk through warranties, indemnities and/or environmental insurance.
We advised a local authority of the identification of a site under the contaminated land regime (Part 2A). We were first instructed when the local authority believed there may be an issue, advised on the legal aspects of the definition of contaminated land, drafted the draft written record of determination and advised the regulator on who were the Class A persons. We then negotiated with potential the Class A Appropriate Persons and reached a settlement with those who had liability.