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What is a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment?

A Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment, often referred to as a Desk Study, Environmental Site Risk Assessment or Stage 1 Risk Assessment, is a report that aims to analyse all potential sources of contamination and determine the contamination risk at a site, in addition to, providing a scope for further investigations, if necessary. Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessments are most commonly required to support planning applications or comply with planning conditions. Due diligence must be conducted in consideration of the environmental conditions of the area and any present risks that may be imposed on the people involved in carrying out the construction work, the end users and the building itself. This process involves desk studies, including analysis of historical and geological map data to identify previous uses of the site and collecting environmental data on ground conditions, hydrology and relevant local features.

You may be wondering what a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment is and what it includes. A Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment identifies and assesses both on and off-site potential land contamination risks and the potential impact to the site and site users (e.g. people living or working at the site). This assessment is conducted by obtaining all available information on a site to develop what is known as a 'Conceptual Site Model'.

Environmental Data Collection - The process of collecting information on a site for a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment is called a Desk Study and generally involves analysing historical map data to identify past uses of the site and any past nearby contamination sources. It will also include analysing current maps to identify potential on and off-site sources of contamination. Ground conditions at and nearby the site are taken into account when assessing the potential impact of any identified contamination sources. This wide variety of data, collated from research organisations, local authorities, regulatory agencies and government institutions and databases, allows us to develop the Conceptual Site Model.

Conceptual Site Model - The Conceptual Site Model is simply a written or diagrammatic explanation of the sources, pathways and receptors present at a particular site. Sources being where contamination comes from (e.g. past industrial activity), pathways being the ways contamination can travel through the environment (e.g. through soil or groundwater) and receptors are the organisms ultimately affected by the contamination (e.g. people).

Further Investigation - A Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment is the first stage of the risk assessment process and aims to assess the level of risk present at a site and determine the need for further investigation. A Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment may conclude that no further testing is necessary as the contamination risk present is minimal, however, it may identify unacceptable contamination risks, for which a Phase 2 Intrusive Site Investigation will be needed to quantify and assess the safety of the site.

Why Do I Need a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment?

Wherever historical or on-going contamination poses a potential risk to people, buildings and the environment, it is necessary to assess the nature and extent of this risk in a cost benefit analysis. Since it can be costly in terms of time and money and there will always be some element of contamination risk present on any site, it's important to assess whether the risks present are acceptable or whether they require further action. UK legislation dicontacttes that the land contamination risk assessment process be an integral part of any development project, this is why Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessments are commonly carried out to support planning applications, or to comply with conditions placed on planning approval.

Comply with planning conditions - While the wording of planning approval conditions, relating to potential land contamination, varies from council to council, the basic premise is the same and, therefore, so does the process followed to comply with them. For example, some conditions may simply request an assessment of the nature and extent of contamination at the site, whereas, others may look something like this:

No development shall commence until actual or potential land contamination at the site is investigated and a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment Report is submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Report shall be prepared in accordance with Contaminated Land Report CLR11 (Environment Agency 2004)

How we can help - We regularly carry out Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessments for a range of sites and projects, including on greenfield and brownfield land and for residential and commercial developments, so if you need a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment, we can help.

Meet Our Risk Assessment Consultants

Consultants - Supervised by our Chief Technical Officer, Louis Turner, our fully comprehensive Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment desk studies, are carried out by highly qualified consultants, combining over 30 years experience with recognised in-depth technical qualifications in identification of contamination and environmental issues, as well as the implementation of remediation work.

Management - Our wealth of experience in project management, logistics and environmental consulting allows us to provide an efficient, friendly and high quality Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment service for our clients. As a company, we believe that helping clients achieve their goals while simultaneously protecting the environment is a true "win-win" situation.

Partners - Our experienced, professional and qualified construction and consulting partners further extend the range of environmental and land contamination services we are able to provide. Our partners provide our clients with services such as waste management, remediation implementation and construction services.

Contact Us - Contact us and let us know your requirements. Following initial consultation we can provide an outline proposal detailing how we can help and the costs involved. Our environmental consultants will then carry out a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment, also known as an environmental site assessment or desk study, allowing you to stick to schedules and minimise any disruption to your project.

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