Estimates are that of all the UK properties, 3% of them are affected by contamination. This means that over 785,000 different properties could be contaminated. Land clean-up costs average £250,000 for contaminated lands per acre so the average plot in the UK would cost to clean up about £15,000.
The Environmental protection Act says that first one who bears responsibility for the clean up of the land is the one who caused it, when that person is not able to be identified, the current owner or occupier of the land is held responsible to clean up the contamination.
An array of options are available to those UK homeowners that have are concerned about if they purchased on land that is potentially contaminated. There are various insurance policies that can be purchased for residential property to help pay should there be the need to remove any prior contamination from the homeowners or property owners property. There value is a constant and is not related to the property’s value.
What the insurance policies will not cover is for blight and health consequences that may occur from residential property blight. Land contamination reports are available and property buyers can get them through a solicitor to see if land is affected in any way by contamination.
Even though the majority of contaminated property is the industrial region of the country in the north, less than 33% of all the contamination searches are done for property in the north. Contaminated land for those it affects is like a hand grenade and is often not seen by conveyances.
Many homebuyers have very little equity in their homes and cannot borrow against the equity to pay for the clean up costs. An additional £15,000 to pay when buying a new house is too much and can create financial hardship.
Homeowners need to remember why clean up is necessary. These contaminants in our lands can cause health problems for the people living there as well as being costly for doing the decontamination. If containments leaked into adjoining areas then the property owner could find themselves liable for that cost of cleanup as well.