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Desktop Study to Discharge Planning Condition

Would you like Southwest Environmental to produce a desktop study for your planning application? Please contact us for a quote.

As a condition of their planning application a client based in the midlands was asked (by the local planning authority) to complete a Phase 1 Desktop Study as a condition of his planning approval. After finding Southwest Environmental Limited (Environmental Consultants) Listed on Google, he instructed us to assemble a report.

What is a Desktop Study?After a thorough site walk over survey it was not apparent that the site had an industrial past, nor was there any evidence of land contamination.

On returning to the office a third party data set was purchased from a specialist supplier. The data set includes details of potential Sources, Pathways and Receptors in the immediate area.

Sources: Petrol Stations, Work Shops, Vehicle Repairs, Printing Shops and Dry Cleaners were all identified as being in the area.

Pathway: Geological and Hydro geological maps are included in the data that can be used to determine possible pathways through soils, lithology or groundwater. Pathways can take pollution off site or bring contaminants on site.


Environmental Receptors such as RAMSAAR sites and SSSI's are listed in the data, if present this was not applicable in this instance. Groundwater is also designated zones in terms of it vulnerability, no ground water vulnerability zones were present under the site.

Historic Land Use Industrial Desktop Study - What is a Desktop Study?


Historic maps showed conclusively that the site in question had an industrial heritage, as the map to the left shows, (sorry about the quality but the map is 100 years old) there had been various uses associated with the site, soap works and generic "works" being labeled on a number of maps.

After completing the site specific conceptual model and the site specific risk assessment (qualitative) the final recommendations were made.

In this case it was recommended that further investigations were carried out, a Phase 2 Site Investigation was recommended, with a associated Quantitative Risk Assessment.

It is often an unfortunate occurrence when a land owner discovers that his land may be contaminated as there is considerable cost involved in a Phase 2 Investigation, SWEL always recommend carrying out a Desktop Study Before the exchange of contracts.