Raoul Duke

Member Article

Groundsure launches new climate analysis module

Environmental analytics business Groundsure is launching a new climate data module today, following a year of development and a soft-launch trial.

The module, ClimateIndex, interprets and assesses information on the risks climate change might pose to a property - via flooding, ground subsidence, or coastal erosion - over one, five, and 30 years.

The module will be added to Groundsure’s main residential and environmental search reports.

Dan Montagnani, the boss of Groundsure said: “Thanks to the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority, forthcoming new guidance from the Law Society and lenders, property lawyers will soon be required to report on risks posed by climate change. This is why we have developed ClimateIndex. It portrays data clearly and concisely, making it simple for property lawyers to advise clients on property transactions and allow people to make better decisions.”

“Property lawyers have a lot on their plates — our job is to ensure they don’t have to interpret [climate] science as well or think about multiple search reports. Not only is ClimateIndex provided at no extra cost in our key residential and commercial searches, but given the forthcoming changes to guidance, it should ensure lawyers are climate compliance-ready, too. It is the first inclusive climate data that has been added to conveyancing search reports to meet future compliance requirements.”

At the conference where the module was launched, Montagnani was joined by Stephen Sykes, an environmental lawyer and consultant from Capital Law, who outlined the case for residential conveyancers and commercial property lawyers to start advising clients on climate risks.

Stephen Sykes said: “We owe our clients a duty of care to advise about the effects climate change will have on land and buildings - especially now that climate data is readily available as part of existing environmental searches. Law firms will potentially expose themselves to PI claims and negative ESG publicity if they fail to warn clients about climate risk.”

If a property’s ClimateIndex score increases in the future, it may affect the value as well as the availability of parametric insurance.

Dan Montagnani said: “The risks we are looking at are of concern to homebuyers but also lenders. You can’t assume properties will be insurable if they are in higher risk areas. Mortgages may not be available for high-risk properties or may cost more. An increase in a property’s ClimateIndex score is considered in the context of the purchase and data provided in this report.”

Earlier this month, Groundsure hosted the first Conveyancing Climate Change Conference at the Law Society. At the event, Stephen Tromans QC, an environmental barrister at 39 Essex Chambers said: “Solicitors have a legal duty to advise their clients on climate related risks. As the tools and information become available, they need to discuss the importance of investigation.”

Although the module has been designed primarily for property lawyers, it is also available to mortgage introducers, valuers and others parties involved in the residential and commercial purchase process.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Raoul Duke .

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