Environmental Searches

The Council holds and maintains a range of environmental information obtained from several sources, including historical maps, borehole records, previous investigative reports and remedial works, which it makes available to the public through a low-cost Environmental Search service. Other commercial search agencies would not necessarily have access to such local information and their searches may not reflect the current condition or legal status of the land.

The Council’s Environmental Health Section receives requests for Environmental Searches on a regular basis. A number of common reasons include:

  • For information regarding contamination and environmental issues in relation to a property sale.
  • By consultants/companies undertaking an environmental assessment of a site.

The Council strongly recommends that an “Environmental Search” is obtained, prior to the purchase, lease or development of any land or property within the Borough.

The two standard environmental searches undertaken are detailed below:

Environmental Search 1

This type of search is targeted at solicitors or individuals who are interested in the legal and contamination status of a particular site or property. Information regarding a property or site includes:

  • Past Industrial Use – including a series of past historical maps
  • Summary of any borehole logs, site investigations, where available, including gas monitoring results
  • Summary of any remediation work, where available
  • Unlicensed, pre-licensed, closed or active landfill sites within a 250 metre radius
  • Status of the site under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and to confirm whether there is an entry on the Public Register.

In addition to the standard Environmental Search, photocopies of any reports can be obtained (see list of fees for further information).

Environmental Search 2

This type of search is targeted at environmental consultants who are interested in undertaking a preliminary environmental assessment of a site and therefore may be interested in the site and surrounding land within a 250 metre radius. Information regarding the site in question and the surrounding land within a 250 metre radius includes:

  • Past Industrial Use – including a series of past historical maps
  • A list of geoenvironmental reports for example borehole logs, site investigations, remediation and validation reports, where available, including gas monitoring results
  • Status of the site under Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and to confirm whether there is an entry on the Public Register.
  • Unlicensed, pre-licensed, closed or active landfill sites
  • Tank Register
  • Part A and Part B Installations
  • Pollution Incidents
  • Radon
  • Groundwater
  • Source Protection Zones
  • Licensed Abstractions
  • Surface Water
  • Consent for Discharge

In addition to the standard Environmental Search, photocopies of any reports can be obtained (see list of fees for further information).

Requesting an Environmental Search

Environmental Searches can be requested by completing our online form [opens new window].  Alternatively complete and send our Environmental Search request form [word document] by post or email. Please also include a plan showing clearly the boundary of the site in question and your contact details. 

Darlington Borough Council will provide information in response to an environmental search request within 20 working days however we will endeavour, where possible, to respond sooner usually within 10 working days.

The reply we make is limited to the records available at the time the query is answered. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, this cannot be guaranteed and Darlington Borough Council accepts no responsibility for its accuracy or otherwise.

Requesting an environmental search has been defined as a “business as usual” request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The information is, therefore, exempt under Section 21 of the Act. If you would like more information on the Council’s policies and procedures on your information rights, please visit the Freedom of Information and Environmental Information request pages.

Fees

The Council charges for carrying out Environmental Searches. You will appreciate that there are resource implications in searching for this information and preparing a suitable response and therefore it is necessary to charge for this service.

The fee for each of the two standard searches is £65 per site. This is based on the Contaminated Land Officer’s average time taken to respond to a standard request. The fee has been calculated on a maximum site of enquiry area of 10,000m2 and will include the historical maps. 

Methods of payment

Preferred method of payment is by credit/debit card - please telephone 01325 406432

By Post - Cheques or postal orders made payable to ‘Darlington Borough Council’. Please write ‘Environmental Searches – 16014 9815' on the reverse of the cheque.  Please send them to Environmental Searches, Environmental Health, Town Hall, Darlington, DL1 5QT.

Additional Information

Additional charges based upon the number of hours, or part hours taken to provide the information will be made if for example: -

  • The site larger than 10,000m2.
  • Significant photocopying is required

Payment in Person at:

Customer Services, Town Hall, Feethams, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL1 5QT
Monday - Wednesday 08:30 – 16:45
Thursday 09:30 – 16:45
Friday 08:30 – 16:15

The person making the payment is to quote they are making an ‘Environmental Searches’ payment for [Name of the Site] (Cost Code: 16014 9815).

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to email EnvironmentalSearches@darlington.gov.uk