The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Unlocking the Potential of Former Publicly Owned Land

25 October 2013 | Updated 01 January 1970

With all the selling off by the government, military land now accounts for a smaller area than in 1850 and as strategic interests change, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues to divest itself of significant amounts of land. Other government departments, from the NHS to education and local authorities are similarly disposing of land.

Merebrook Consulting, one of the UK's main ground engineering and environmental consultants, has urged caution for developers. It argues that the historic uses of publicly owned land and the ‘unique conditions’ of ownership, mean that special care must be taken with relation to ground conditions when the sites are purchased. 

Sites come on to the market with limited information available in relation to past uses which have often been confidential, self-sufficient and subject to Crown Immunity. Environmental due diligence to provide an understanding of land purchase is critical for developers as unforeseen costs, e.g. remediation or abnormal foundations, can significantly undermine the financial viability of any project. 

"Hazards on former publicly owned sites include some of the most significant that exist; vendor information is often not comprehensive due to confidentiality and poor record keeping, so land investigation and detailed assessment is vital to help avoid time delays on development projects,” explained Simon Edwards, Director for Environment and Science, Merebrook. “One of our recent investigations uncovered radioactive materials related to fluorescent dials and gun sights, which although posing a relatively low environmental and health risk, required careful negotiation with environmental health officers at the development stage, and which could have posed significant delays."

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 25 October 2013


Related Tags

Related Articles

FM Contract for Armed Forces in Gibraltar Awarded to Mitie

The first of a new suite of contracts to provide essential services for the UK Armed Forces on overseas MOD bases has been awarded to Mitie. The £155 million...

 Read Full Article
Sustainable Upgrades for the Defence Training Estate

Soldiers using Salisbury Plain and Nesscliff Training Areas are the first to benefit from new carbon efficient accommodation, delivered as part of the £45m Net...

 Read Full Article
MoD Accused Of Failing To Warn Of Asbestos Dangers

Unite, has written to members on MoD sites cautioning them that their employer is failing to warn them about the dangers of being exposed to asbestos on military...

 Read Full Article
Immoral Compass Finds Right Direction

A Compass Group company has agreed to the 'return' of working weeks 'stolen' from employees according to the workers' union Unite. ESS had put their...

 Read Full Article
Ellwood Jets In To Help RAF Blues Go Green

RAF Marham, the home of the UK’s F-35 multi role combat jets, is set to become the first military airbase to be powered by green electricity. Defence Minister...

 Read Full Article
Amey Takes On Military

Leading public service provider Amey has completed its acquisition of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Regional Prime and National Housing Prime contracts.  Formerly...

 Read Full Article
Attention - All MoD Cons Now In Place

New building performance standards have been targeted to save the MoD millions of pounds. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which manages the defence estate,...

 Read Full Article
Atlas Rules The World

A £70 million hangar large enough to contain three of the RAF’s new Atlas transport aircraft at the same time has opened. Minister for Defence Procurement...

 Read Full Article
Scotland Gets Military Assets Spending Guarantee

The Defence Secretary has recently confirmed £1.7 billion will be invested to upgrade Scottish military bases. Lossiemouth, one of the RAF's three fast jet...

 Read Full Article
A Worthy Piece of Work

Building work on the Catering, Retail and Leisure (CRL) facility on the site of the new Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration at Worthy Down, has been...

 Read Full Article