Ben Truslove, a director of Redditch property agents John Truslove, considers the UK’s record on decontaminating land and how Land Remediation Relief can make all the difference.

The UK is a world leader in the regeneration and management of industrial land, offering a wide range of technologies, systems and expertise.

That expertise has been borne out of necessity.

As the first industrialised country in the world, we have over 400,000 hectares of contaminated land, much of it a legacy of the Industrial Revolution.

The clean-up of this land was made a key priority and as a consequence our capability and knowledge is exported across the globe.

Former shipyards, oil refineries, major industrial manufacturing areas and more have all provided evidence of the UK’s ability in this area.

The London 2012 Olympic Park was a case in point.

The enabling works included over 3,500 sampling locations, creating more than five million chemical test results. In total, 2.2 million square metres of soil was excavated, of which 764,000 square metres was treated by soil washing, chemical stabilisation, bioremediation or sorting. Eighty per cent of the excavated material was re-used on site as engineering fill, while 2,500 litres of hydrocarbons were removed and 235,000 square metres of contaminated groundwater pumped and treated.

Similarly, in the Midlands, we have seen the i54 site near Wolverhampton decontaminated in order to create thousands of jobs – it is now the site of Jaguar Land Rover’s engine plant. All thanks to a £5 million 12-month programme of infrastructure and reclamation work followed by a £10 million programme of remediation and site preparation works.

There are many other examples up and down the country.

However, less well known is the tax position which is why investors and developers need to make the most of Land Remediation Relief.

Full utilisation of the measure can sometimes be the X-factor to a project’s viability.

Contaminated land can often be a major challenge. LRR is a very significant help when bringing sites back into productive use.

The relief is available across all sectors where companies are subject to corporation tax.

But, unlike Capital Allowances, LRR is open to property investors and developers alike.

And it applies not just to what would be commonly understood as contaminated land from a previous industrial activity, but also includes Japanese Knotweed and asbestos removal.

Developments and regeneration projects, fit-outs and refurbishments can all qualify.

Developers receive 50 per cent of the cost but the owner occupier and investor rate is 150 per cent.

This offers very significant tax relief but must be actively claimed and hence can easily be overlooked. Yet if factored in at the outset, especially where land purchase is under consideration, it can make all the difference as to whether the economics stack up or not.

The time limit for retrospective claims is up to three years for investors and up to five years for developers.

Well worth digging into!