What is a Phase 1 Environmental Report?
When are Phase I Environmental Reports Requested?
You may have been asked by the Local Authority to have an assessment carried out for your site with respect to contamination as a condition of planning. This is a common condition which aims to understand any potential risk that may be present at the site as a result of historic or current activities. The first stage in this assessment is a Phase 1 Environmental Report.
Why are Phase I Environmental Reports requested?
Certain activities pose a potential contamination risk which could result in adverse effects to human health, controlled waters and/or the built environment. As such, it is important to understand any potential issues that might be present at the site so that measures can be taken to address this risk prior to development.
In particular, sites with an industrial use (either current or historic) and agricultural sites often require a contamination assessment prior to development. However, this is not an exhaustive list, and Local Authorities use their discretion to determine whether a Phase 1 is considered necessary for your site. This does not mean that contamination is present, only that there is a perceived possible risk.
What do Phase 1 Reports Involve?
The assessment starts with the study of historic plans of the site to identify any possible historic sources of contamination. This is usually coupled with a site walkover, where a qualified consultant will explore the site, making notes of any features and buildings and taking photographs to provide a record of the site layout and properties. During this walkover, they will also endeavour to identify if any obvious sources of contamination are present currently on site.
Following this, the Phase 1 report is undertaken. Findings from the historic assessment and site walkover are considered alongside a number of other factors. Previous reports for the site will be reviewed where available and information requested from regulatory bodies if necessary. The consultant will consider the site in its geological and environmental context, as well as any nearby sites of interest. They will then draw conclusions as to the potential risk posed by the site for its proposed usage based on the information gathered.
What are the Possible Outcomes of a Phase I Environmental Reports ?
Recommendations will be given within the Phase 1 report which detail the next steps to be taken. This Phase 1 report should be submitted to be considered along with your planning application. If no further works have been recommended, this may be sufficient for discharge of the relevant planning condition. If further works have been recommended, these will usually be required by the Local Authority prior to discharge of the planning condition.
What are the next stages after a Phase I Environmental Report?
If a potential risk has been identified, you may need to undertake a further assessment of the site. This could include a Phase II Site Investigation, where samples will betaken from the site to quantify any contamination that might be present, or gas monitoring to assess the risk from ground gases to the proposed development. However, specific recommendations will be made individually on a site-by-site basis and it is not possible to pre-empt what the findings might be for your site.
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