Air quality – what does it mean for conveyancers?

Here at Landmark, we believe that the topic of Air Quality relating to commercial property transactions (and subsequent planning applications), is something that we are going to be hearing a lot more about over the coming weeks and months.

The reason for this is that the Government is currently working on a major new strategy to tackle the UK’s air pollution after the Supreme Court ruled it was in breach of air quality regulations. DEFRA has just published a new consultation on the matter, which emphasises the central role of local authorities in achieving improvements in air quality, and suggests ways in which pollution levels could be reduced.

Currently, where pollutant levels exceed national objectives, local authorities designate an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ (AQMA). Currently there are over 580 AQMAs located across 239 Local Authorities, which cover a total area of 3,600km2.

By being located within an AQMA, it automatically places greater scrutiny – and potential costs or delays – onto commercial planning applications or re-developments, where air quality will need to be factored in to the process.

As such, for commercial developers, land owners and investors, this means air quality will become more of a consideration as commercial planning applications will come under more intense scrutiny in this increasingly sensitive area.

For those looking to purchase a commercial property for redevelopment, the ability to assess any air quality related risks associated to the site’s location at the outset will become an increasing priority. As part of the conveyancing due-diligence process, clients will look for guidance and information to support them understand any risks related to the property.

Having access to risk screening data will therefore provide the intelligence needed so clients are fully aware of their position. For example, they may want to know whether the land or property is located within an AQMA, whether air quality is being measured within the vicinity, what industrial emissions are nearby, or what the future air quality is anticipated to look like.

By having this knowledge upfront, it will help developers make adjustments to their plans, to take into account the local authority’s air quality agenda, and potentially even assist in avoiding the acquisition of ‘stranded assets’ due to planning constraints in the first place.

Working with industry specialists, Aeris, we have introduced the first air quality screening report to the commercial conveyancing and property market. The SiteSolutions Air Quality Screening Report provides an early warning of any current or future atmospheric pollution issues that have the potential to impact the value of the property or result in planning restrictions or constraints.

By providing access to the report, it enables them to fully consider any impact air quality may have both today and in the future, ensuring clients have access to valuable due diligence needed before any commercial property transaction is finalised.

For more information visit: www.landmark.co.uk

This article was submitted to be published by Landmark Information Group as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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