Conveyancing Information Executive set the bar on climate data quality standards

24 February 2023

The Conveyancing Information Executive (CIE), the leading property data standards body for conveyancing transactions in England and Wales has today launched its Climate Risk Reporting Compliance note to its Members.

Climate data analysis is already available for conveyancers and commercial property lawyers, offered either inclusive in environmental or stand alone reports. Because the data used for climate change provides a forward-looking projection, the CIE compliance note provides a clear definition of the data, minimum service standards and expectations for how CIE Members will maintain and refine the data in accordance with the evolving market and stakeholder requirements.

The compliance note, sitting alongside other CIE compliance notes:

  • Defines the importance of using verified, authoritative data sources
  • Sets out minimum service standards with effective, properly trained consultants to guide conveyancers through the findings to meet their duty of care and reporting requirements
  • Clarifies the minimum data components for property site identification and the mandatory and optional requirements for physical risks, including flooding, natural subsidence and coastal erosion
  • Explains how climate modelling (including return periods, emissions scenarios and Representative Concentration Pathways – RCPs) should be used and justified and how they feed into the analysis and assessment of risk

“Climate data is an important development in the evolution of environmental searches.” says Stuart Telfer, VP of Operations at Groundsure, a CIE founder member. “It is no longer acceptable to homebuyers and business owners that data standards should focus on historic or current data, but should be applied to how future projections of risk driven by climate change could manifest themselves.”

“This is, of course, a rapidly evolving area and CIE will be continually reviewing industry and key stakeholder guidance in response, especially the anticipated Law Society guidance and new lender reporting requirements. Customer education and support is at the heart of this, to give conveyancers and commercial property lawyers the confidence to advise their clients, as well as clarity of potential solutions to risks.”

The compliance note also makes clear that the reports shouldn’t just be a data dump of confusing scientific projections. It needs to have clear, actionable outcomes for the client and that the conveyancer can have confidence that any risks are clearly flagged and that next steps can be discussed with the client on any impacts to lending, insurance cover or mitigations.

“Climate Change impacts have never been more evident in our society and the impact on property assets is becoming ever clearer.” says Chris Loaring, Managing Director of Landmark Information (Legal). “This guidance provides clear assurance to legal professionals that CIE standards are leading the way and innovating in the same way as CIE members. This ensures we are in a position to advise and plan ahead to meet the climate challenge.”