The potential risks of buying/selling, owning and developing contaminated land have been highlighted in a number of significant cases such as the Corby Council and Crest Redlands cases and very recently in the decisions in Jim 2 Limited v Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council  and the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Powys County Council v Price and Hardwick . These and other cases have clearly shown that, although the UK has a depth of experience in brownfield development, not all risks can be managed or ‘engineered out’ - some degree of long-term environmental liability risk will almost certainly remain.
How we can help
Gallagher has over 75 Council clients and understands the pressures and constraints that they work under. Specialising in property, construction and environmental impairment liability, our team is well suited to support Councils in the management and financial protection of risks associated with their sale/acquisition, development and ownership of former industrial and other brownfield sites.
Our Environmental Liability specialists have over 40 years of experience in helping Councils to implement successful insurance solutions on projects ranging from Housing Stock transfers through to large-scale infrastructure, brownfield site acquisition/divestment and regeneration projects.
To illustrate some of our experience, below are examples of successful projects completed for our Council clients:
Major Regeneration Project South England
A Council acquired a number of sites over time to enable a major regeneration project to include over 5,000 houses, schools, retail, offices, commercial and open public space with landscaping. The sites included a former gas works and a range of manufacturing with a long industrial past with sensitive surrounding land use. The project is a long term project of 10 to 15 years and includes the addition of joint venture partners at key milestones. Gallagher supported the Council in the acquisition phase and continues to support the ongoing project works as the sites develop.
Site Acquisition and Development - Midlands
A Council approached Gallagher when seeking to acquire a site with a view to building offices for the Council’s own use. The site was well located and the right size but previous industrial use, a very sensitive offsite commercial operation and an onerous indemnity in the sale and purchase agreement meant the Council sought protection for its investment. Gallagher worked with the Council’s legal and consultancy team to successfully reduce the sites risks to a level where the Council committee felt they could support the site acquisition.
Housing Stock Transfer
Gallagher has previously advised Councils and/or Housing Associations on more than 40 whole or partial large scale voluntary transfers of housing stock on how to manage and financially protect against the retained environmental liability risks. We are now advising a number of Councils on renewal/ replacement of environmental insurance policies placed when the properties were originally transferred.
Public and Public/Private Infrastructure Projects
Gallagher has previously provided and continues to provide specialist advice and insurance services in respect of a number of large and high profile infrastructure projects, including some of the largest tunnelling, bridge and road construction and operations contracts let in recent years.
Goverment Property Owner/Operator
Gallagher advised the government on its environmental liability insurance options for a range of property holdings including educational buildings, waste operations and a wide range of commercial properties. The advice included both pre-existing (historic contamination) and operational risks.
Specialist policies can be structured to cover the acquisition, development phase and ongoing ownership/disposal. As well as protecting the Council, policies can cover a range of stakeholders such as Joint Venture partners, site end users and funders.