Environmental Searches: Explained

by | Oct 12, 2016 | Blog Posts

Following the series of articles on residential property searches, where we have already looked at Local Authority and Drainage and Water searches, the final compulsory search required by the majority of mortgage lenders is an Environmental Search. As indicated in its name, an Environmental Search investigates the surrounding environment in which your property is located and whether this may impact the use or value or your property.

Environmental Searches will vary across search providers, however the main issues the search investigates and will identify are as follows:

Contaminated land

The search offers a professional assessment on potentially contaminative uses of land near to the property. It will indicate whether there are industrial sites, landfill and waste sites or petrol or fuel sites in the vicinity of the property which may lead to contamination of the property itself in the future.


An Environmental Search will indicate whether the area is at risk of surface water flooding, groundwater flooding or river/coastal flooding. It will also indicate whether there have been any historical floods and whether there are any flood defences in place. The Environmental Search offers an insight into the potential flooding of the area and if the property is at risk of flooding, it is recommended that a full flood report is done on the property.


The search will indicate whether the property is in an area which has a potential for ground subsidence. This is important as the structure of your property, and therefore its value, will be affected should there be any subsidence and works could be required.


Another important issue the Environmental Search will investigate is whether the property is located nearby any energy infrastructures such as proposed wind farms, solar farms or power stations. A separate and more detailed report can be obtained for this; however, the environmental search gives a general overview for mortgage lenders and the purchaser to consider.

Other matters

Other considerations in the search include whether the property is in a coal mining area, whether it is affected by radon gas, whether it is affected by development constraints and whether it is in an area which may be affected by the HS2 Crossrail development.

The Environmental Search considers a wide range of factors which may influence your decision of whether to purchase a property. Importantly, your mortgage lender will also be concerned with its contents and whether the value of the property is affected by its environment.

Next week, we will look into some of the optional searches which can be obtained if you are concerned about a particular issue affecting the property.

If you are looking to buy a new residential property, get in touch with our specialist Residential Conveyancing team today on 0113 244 9931.



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