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Phase 1 Desk Study for New Build Farmhouse

Agricultural areas may be more contaminated than you think. Farmland is not characterised as brownfield land but there are still a number of ways they can become contaminated and, therefore, it's very important that these sites are assessed properly and that the potential risks are analysed as part of a Phase 1 Desk Study, known in the industry as a Preliminary Risk Assessment.

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Phase 1 Desk Studies for Construction of a Farmhouse

You may think that natural activities like farming wouldn't cause contamination and therefore there would be no issues when applying for planning permission. They are generally in rural areas and unaffected by industrial activities so how could they be contaminated?

Agricultural activity can cause contamination issues in a variety of ways, including through the use of pesticides, asbestos in roofs, fuel spillages and burning organic materials. These can release contaminants such as heavy metals and hydrocarbons that can be harmful to human health and the environment. The potential for any contaminants being present means that a desk study, and possibly some intrusive contamination testing, will need to be done in order to determine the level of risk present at an agricultural site.

To help explain the process of a Phase 1 Desk Study for a new build farmhouse we have highlighted a project in Nottingham. The requirements of all our clients are slightly different but the process is usually similar. The client contacted us to carry out a Phase 1 Desk Study, in order to comply with planning permission conditions for the redevelopment of riding stables into a house on a farm. The local authority requested that a Phase 1 Risk Assessment be carried out prior to any development occurring and this needed to determine the potential risks from its past agricultural use.

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A Phase 1 Desk Study for Planning Permission for a New Build Farmhouse - Case Study

First Step - Our Phase 1 Desk Study involved consulting current and historical map data to identify any potential contaminant sources near the farm that may have contaminated the land on the site. This allowed us to conclude that the only potentially significant contaminant source was the nearby river. This was also considered a potential receptor of any contamination originating from the site. Since there were no significant sources of contamination nearby (besides the river) the main contamination sources to consider were those originating from the site.

Second Step - The next stage of our Phase 1 Desk Study then involved assessing, in more detail, the potential sources, pathways and receptors present at the farm site. This was then used to develop an initial conceptual site model which allows us to identify 'pollutant linkages'. For a pollutant linkage to be present there must be a contaminant source for contamination to come from, a pathway for the contamination to travel through and a receptor to be affected by the contamination. If one of these is not present, there is no pollutant linkage and, therefore, no significant risk from contamination. At this farm site in Nottingham our Phase 1 Risk Assessment identified minor potential pollutant linkages relating to possible contaminants caused by its past agricultural use and the presence of a close receptor as a house is to be built on the site.

How We Helped - Our Phase 1 Desk Study determined that there was a low level of risk from contamination at the farm site in Nottingham due to the limited extent of any contamination sources, despite the pathways and receptors present. We are delighted that our client was pleased with our service and thank him for his kind words.

Great service I must say... I will pass on your number to others. - Mr. Procter

I Need a Phase 1 Desk Study for Building on a Farm

We can carry out desk studies on potentially contaminated land for a range of development projects in Nottingham and the surrounding areas.

1. Contact us and let us know your requirements
2. Following initial consultation we can provide an outline proposal detailing how we can help and the costs involved
3. Our environmental consultants will then carry out a Phase 1 Desk Study (Preliminary Risk Assessment) and, if requested, visit your farm to carry out a supporting Walkover Survey
4. We can complete a Phase 1 Desk Study within days of your initial enquiry allowing you to stick to schedules and minimise any disruption to your project

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