Do I Need an Environmental Risk Assessment?
Carrying out an Environmental Risk Assessment is essential to ensure that you are aware of your specific hazards and to make sure they are controlled appropriately to reduce the likelihood of an environmental incident. Environmental Risk Assessment is important for property acquisition or sale, and operational management.
- Property acquisition/sale: An Environmental Risk Assessment can give you more information to use in pre-acquisition audits and as part of your due diligence when you are buying or selling assets. The risk assessment can uncover hidden hazards, risks or obstacles which you might want to consider before committing to something, and offer assurance, compliance, value and resources for future buyers.
- Running your business: Reviewing controls and performance is imperative to protect you from legal failures and the environment from pollution or damage. Good environmental management can improve your business reputation and positively affect your work force.
Why is an Environment Risk Assessment useful when buying or selling property or land?
As mentioned above, Environmental Risk Assessments can give you information for valuing property or land for sale and reassure buyers who are looking to invest.
An Environmental Risk Assessment during pre-acquisition will let you know of the environmental risks and the on-going costs and responsibilities you may be taking on.
Some environmental incidences such as land or groundwater pollution can take many years to find their way above ground and become a noticeable problem. Whether the responsibility for the polluting activity was with the previous owner or not, there are likely to be risk and costs to both current and former owners. Some famous environmental pollution cases have resulted in millions of pounds of fines, business closures and loss of jobs. It is better to be as well informed as possible, prior to contract completion.
If you are selling, Environmental Risk Assessments can be informative to your due diligence and in some circumstances, the assessment may even be a legal obligation.
What information goes into an Environmental Risk Assessment?
Information about potential environmental hazards can come from publicly held registers and from reviewing historic records. A current assessment of the environmental impact can inform you of potential environmental hazards and risks, as well as regulatory and legal requirements.
Gathering this information and assessing the impact it has will all affect the timing and value of a prospective purchase or sale.
How can an Environmental Risk Assessment affect your business operations?
Your risk assessment should be used when you’re reviewing your policies, procedures, preventative controls and emergency procedures. Environmental Risk Assessments cover all of your activities, including those of your supply chain, and is often a requirement of environmental permits, consents, performance monitoring, and reporting to regulators such as the Environment Agency.
What are environmental risks and impacts?
At each stage of your operations, you should identify the environmental risks and impacts. These may include impacts from accidental pollution to air, land or water.
Assessing the risk of any impact will be determined by how likely it is that the impact will happen, its severity, its longevity, and how important or sensitive the receiving environment is. There are many areas and resources that are legally protected, such as watercourses, protected wildlife habitats and species, historic areas, and public amenities such as footpaths and parks.
Once you know the risks, you can identify and implement management controls to minimise them, and identify responsibilities for key personnel, including along your supply chain.
A successful Environmental Risk Assessment followed by actions to reduce risks will result in improved operational controls and appropriate responses to accidents. Any assessments should be audited and reviewed regularly so that your information is up to date and you can plan your operational decisions in the most responsible and efficient way.
To discuss your project requirements, please contact our experienced team