Brownfield sites are sites that have been affected by the former uses of the site and surrounding land,
are derelict or underused, may have real or perceived contamination problems, are mainly in developed
urban areas and require intervention to bring them back to beneficial use.
As a consequence of the industrial development during the last centuries, polluted and underutilised
regions (Brownfields) evolved in the world, so thus in Hungary. Brownfields are defined as unused
or significantly underutilized areas (industrial-, farmyard-, railway-, left off military area
or barracks, etc.) in poor physical and characteristically polluted state.
In Hungary, there was an economic change and restructuring during the last 1.5 decade that resulted
in higher and higher number of brownfields that was facilitated by the quick ownership changes in
the country. At the same time, political changes also significantly affected the regional alterations:
this caused the increase of unused and mostly polluted military areas and brownfields.
In Hungary, approximately 12 thousand hectare brownfields are registered, but these records are
far away from complete, because no information are available for 35% of towns. Smaller or bigger (1-100
ha) Brownfields can be found all over the country, but these are most typical in the North- and Transdanubian
regions of Hungary. After the approval of the Government, the National Environmental Remediation
Program (OKKP) has launched in 1996 in Hungary. Significant progress occurred within the Program
in the registering of contaminate sites. So far, approximately 15000 contaminated sites are stored
in a GIS information system called KÁRINFO. Environmental audit had been performed on more than 1000
contamination sites, and the elimination of hazardous wastes and left off explosives, and started
the survey and remediation of environmental damages. Connected to the registration of contaminated
sites, the surveying of underutilised brownfields of urban areas have also started.
Within the frame of the Regional Development Operative Program (ROP), the EU financial support
possibilities of brownfields have been established. The aim is to urge the innovative settlement
rehabilitation actions of local governments. This financial mechanism has two components: town
rehabilitation and brownfield rehabilitation.
The importance of new brownfield investments was recognised, and these were put ahead of the earlier
untouched, greenfield investments on unbuilt areas. Brownfield investment is the process when
mostly unused and contaminated areas with delapidated status and ownership problems are cleaned
from their burdens and the infrastructural and functional investments are carried out to allow the
new use of the area.
Utilization of brownfields is a key tool to prepare certain areas for new usage, to enable the growth
of a region and to reduce regional differences. It serves long-term development strategies and by
substituting the Greenfield investment areas, it is a building block of the sustainable development.
The strategic action plan of the liquidation of brownfields has to be developed in the future by
considering environmental protection aspects. It is very important that, in case of brownfields,
the unified, intense and complex global thinking of all stakeholder. The bases of the strategic plan
have to be the reuse of unused brownfields and the reduction of the need for greenfield areas.
Brownfield rehabilitation ensures the thrift of land resources, the utilisation of existing
values, buildings and (producer) infrastructure, the creation of new jobs, and the faster growth
of underdeveloped regions.
The environmental risk and pollution spreading are stopped with brownfield remediation actions.
Furthermore, healthy environment can be ensured for the citizens, the image of the region improves,
and the stock investments might be also attracted. Construction problems of settlement caused by
brownfield areas will be solved, and the operation costs of the settlement can be reduced. The complex
utilization of the available area, the circumstances of life, the chance equality, the public security,
and the general feeling of the citizens are going to be improved.