Further description:- United Kingdom  Brownfields 

Glossary Entry:- United Kingdom  Brownfields
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.
Overview
 
   
There is no legal definition of 'brownfield land' in the UK, but there are a number of government 
policy initiatives that refer to the reuse of 'previously developed land' (PDL). UK policy is to encourage regeneration of brownfield sites/previously developed land in order
to promote:
  • The economic and social regeneration of the surrounding areas;
  • The environmental improvement of the sites themselves; and
  • The reduction in 'development pressure' on greenfield sites This approach is complimented by the UK's risk-based approach to the identification, assessment
    and management of contaminated land. Thus, reuse of land is encouraged where it can be shown that it
    is, or can be made, 'suitable for use' using risk assessment and risk management techniques.
  • 1. General Approach
       
                
    In England, successive Derelict Land Surveys in 1974, 1982, 1988 and 1993 produced relatively 
    firm data for the extent of land which was “so damaged by industrial or other development that it [was]
    incapable of beneficial use without treatment”. The 1993 survey (DOE 1993) identified a total of 39,601 hectares of derelict land in England. The
    data separately identify different categories of dereliction such as mining spoil heaps, military
    land and “general industrial dereliction”, and distinguish between sites in rural, urban and inner
    city areas. However, this category of “derelict land” does not form a particularly close match with the notion
    of “brownfield land”. Firstly, it excludes some categories that might be considered “brownfield”,
    including land which has been cleared or reclaimed for development but where the actual development
    has not yet taken place, and sites which are “under-used” in social or economic terms. Secondly, it
    includes land that is unlikely to be suitable for development re-use, in particular mineral workings
    and other sites in rural areas. (Half of the “derelict land' in the 1993 English survey was in rural
    areas.) In 1998, a new project was started to produce a National Land-Use Database (NLUD). The primary
    purpose for the first phase of this project was to create a database to assist in the identification
    of previously developed land that might be, or might become, available for redevelopment; this can
    be seen as mapping closely onto the “brownfield” issue. Work continues on populating the database,
    but interim statistics released in May 1999 revealed that some 33,000 hectares of land had been identified
    in England that was previously-developed and either vacant or derelict, and which might be suitable
    for re-development. In Novemeber 2003, English Partnerships published 'Towards a National Brownfield Strategy';
    a comprehensive study to assess the state of England’s brownfield land supply. This study highlights
    that there is a huge potential to recycle brownfield land to meet government housing growth targets.
    This report concluded that in England:
    • an estimated 66,000 hectares of previously-developed (brownfield) land were available
      for development, unchanged from 2002;
    • not all of this land is vacant or derelict. Of the total, 60% (40,000 hectares) was vacant or
      derelict land or buildings, the rest being in productive use but known to be potentially available
      for redevelopment;
    • an estimated 29,000 hectares (45%) were potentially available for housing;
    • on the figures supplied by planning authorities, this land could provide for 950,000 dwellings.

    In addition, the Environment Agency of England and Wales estimated that some 300,000+ hectares
    of land could be affected by contamination, covering between 5,000 and 20,000 ‘problem sites’. However, experience suggests that many potential “brownfield” sites would not be revealed by
    such databases or survey exercises. This is because they become “brownfield”, sometimes only for
    a short period, as their previous use comes to an end. Spatial planners in the UK refer to this type of
    site as “windfall” sites, as they are sites which become unexpectedly available for redevelopment.
    Across the UK, brownfield sites may be affected by contamination as a result of a wide range of former
    industrial activities. These include mineral extraction, coal and steel production, gasworks,
    electrical generation, traditional engineering-based activities, transport infrastructure
    and chemical production, waste disposal or minor industrial activities. Much government policy also refers to previously developed land (PDL) which is “that which
    is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings), and
    associated fixed surface infrastructure. The definition covers the curtilage of the development.
    Previously-developed land may occur in both built-up and rural settings. The definition includes
    defence buildings and land used for mineral extraction and waste disposal where provision for restoration
    has not been made through development control procedures” (Planning Policy Guidance Note No 3: (PPG3)
    Housing DETR 2000). One of the Environment Agency’s main aims is to encourage the remediation of contaminated sites
    and the regeneration of brownfield sites in accordance with the UK’s commitment to sustainable development.
    Agency policy is influenced by primary legislation, regulations and statutory guidance, national
    and international good practice, and internal Agency aims and objectives. The Agency is also developing
    agreements on working arrangements, in particular with other regulators, (through Memoranda of
    Understanding (MoU's) and protocols) that provide the framework for Agency relationships with
    external stakeholders.
     
    2. Policy and Regulation
    2.1 Policy
     
                  
    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is responsible 
    for policy on brownfield land in England, with English
    Partnerships
    acting as ODPMs regeneration agency and policy advisor. Local Planning Authorities are responsible for planning and building control. Regional Development
    Agencies and individual local authorities act to promote economic regeneration of their respective
    regions and areas, seeking positively to encourage inward investment and new development. Similar
    arrangements apply in Wales and Scotland. In 1999, an 'Urban Task Force', set up by the national government and chaired by the architect Richard
    Rogers (Lord Rogers of Riverside), examined the current and potential role of national government
    and other public sector bodies in urban policy, including the promotion of brownfield redevelopment.
    The Task Force included representatives of a range of organisations with an interest in urban regeneration
    and its report, Towards an Urban Renaissance (UTF, 1999), made a series of detailed recommendations
    for future action. The Government set out its own framework of policies and programmes, and responded to the Task Force's
    recommendations, in an Urban White Paper, 'Our towns and cities: the future – towards an urban renaissance'
    (DETR 2000a), published in November 2000. This included what was described as a 'new vision of
    urban living', including:
    • 'people shaping the future of their community, supported by strong and truly representative
      local leaders;
    • people living in attractive, well-kept towns and cities which use space and buildings well;
    • good design and planning which makes it more practical to live in a more environmentally sustainable
      way, with less noise, pollution and traffic congestion;
    • towns and cities able to create and share prosperity, investing to help all their citizens
      reach their full potential; and
    • good quality services – health, education, housing, transport, finance, shopping, leisure
      and protection from crime – that meet the needs of people and businesses wherever they are.'

    The White Paper contained specific proposals to 'use the tax and planning systems to bring previously-developed
    'brownfield' sites and empty property back into constructive use, turning eyesores into assets'
    .
    These aims are reflected in the headline land-use policy objective for the national Government
    in the UK, which is 'to promote a sustainable pattern of physical development and land and property
    use in cities, towns and the countryside'. This objective is backed up by specific Public Service
    Agreement (PSA) targets for
    • 60% of new housing to be provided on previously developed land or through conversion of existing
      buildings, and
    • brownfield land to be reclaimed at a rate of over 1,100 hectares per annum by 2004, reclaiming
      5% of current brownfield land by 2004 and 17% by 2010 (DETR 2001)
    This land-use objective is also specifically linked to a further objective 'to enhance sustainable
    economic development and social cohesion through integrated regional and local action, including
    the promotion of an urban renaissance'. The UK Government target that, by 2008, 60% of all new houses be built on ‘brownfield’ sites was designed
    to relieve the pressure on Greenfield sites and preserve the countryside. Figures released by the
    DTLR in May 2002 indicate that the target is currently being exceeded with 61% of new housing being
    built on brownfield sites. For England, English Partnerships is developing a comprehensive National Brownfield Strategy.
    This is being formulated during 2005 and is due to be published in 2006. As part of this work, English Partnerships has been analysing the future processes and policies
    that will need to be implemented to bring forward more sites for development. One immediate outcome
    is that English Partnerships is supporting the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) who have been
    charged with creating a series of action plans aimed at speeding up brownfield delivery especially
    in the four major growth areas. These Regional Brownfield Action Plans will propose methods of making better use of PDL to deliver
    regional economic and housing strategies as well as revealing new development opportunities and
    identifying ways to tackle the blight caused by long-term dereliction. Regional development agenices are tasked with developing regional brownfield strategies. In
    some cases these will preexist the national strategy.
     
    2.2 Regulation
     
                  
    There is no specific regulation of brownfields per se. Brownfields are regulated under 
    general environmental protection and health and safety legislation. There are also issues relating
    to common law where land owners have responsibilities under the torts of trespass and Rylands vs Fletcher.
    Local Authorities are set targets based on the development of new housing on previously developed
    land. Previously developed land “is that which is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding
    agricultural or forestry buildings), and associated fixed surface infrastructure. The definition
    covers the curtilage of the development. Previously-developed land may occur in both built-up and
    rural settings. The definition includes defence buildings and land used for mineral extraction
    and waste disposal where provision for restoration has not been made through development control
    procedures”. (Planning Policy Guidance Note No 3: (PPG3) Housing DETR 2000)
     
    3. Funding
    Site Project Funding
     
                  
    Funding for brownfield regeneration is mainly from the private sector. Public sector fudning 
    is available from a wide variety of sources. Central government fudning is channeled through ODPM,
    Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly. As part of its preparations for a National Strategy ODPM has announced funding for 12 pilot studies
    across England. A proposal for a new Dereliction Aid Grant was notified to the European Commission for State aids
    approval in July 2002. This would fund the cost of the [remediation] work less the increase in the value
    of the land. In its decision of 11 June 2003 the Commission concluded that the Dereliction Aid Grant
    was “compatible with the common market pursuant to Article 87(3)© EC” and therefore did not constitute
    a breach of State Aid rules.
     
    R&D funding
    Soil Protection
    Research Type: Applied

    Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, Remediation options, Remediation options overview Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

    Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    Soil Biodiversity Programme
    Research Type: Basic

    Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Soil, Soil Overview

    Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    URGENT (Urban Regeneration and the Environment)
    Research Type: Basic

    Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

    Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    'Infrastructure and Environment' programme and 'Engineering' programme
    Research Type: Basic

    Topics: Engineering, Infrastructure and Environment, Brownfields, Contaminated land, Groundwater protection, Funding, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

    Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    Bioremediation LINK Programme
    Research Type: Applied, Basic

    Topics: (1) To understand and exploit natural attenuation in groundwater and soil (demonstration, modelling, prediction, definition of operating window). (2) To improve engineered in-situ bioremediation, interfacing microbiology with engineering and hydrogeology; dealing with heterogeneity, improved process control and optimisation. (3) To translate the results of laboratory studies into the field (scale-up). (4) To position bioremediation within a risk management framework - bioavailability, risk-based end points and residue behaviour. (5) To develop the ability to monitor in-situ microbial processes. (6) To understand the constraints on in-situ microbial processes. (7) To integrate bioremediation with other technologies. (8) To quantify human health impacts of bioremediation and develop surrogate testing. (9) To address socio-economic issues- perception of bioremediation technologies and decision-support mechanisms.

    Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    Land Contamination
    Research Type: Applied

    Topics: site assessment for land contamination, decision support tools for risk management, remediation of contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

    Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

    Full Details |


    Defra Web Page on: Contaminated Land - funding
    Research Type: Demonstration

    Topics: There are several measures which support the clean up of contaminated land, and these are described on this web page

    Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

    Full Details |



    Market Information
     
                  
    At present in the UK, in many urban areas the redevelopment of brownfield sites is largely private-sector 
    led – a very significant proportion of projects take place with very little direct involvement from
    public bodies and government agencies, except in their roles as “regulators” issuing and enforcing
    necessary approvals and legal permissions (such as town and country planning). This private sector
    focus may be the result of a combination of the following four factors:
    • The fact that most of the current brownfield land stock is already privately-owned,
    • The particular “economic history” of the sites and the industries etc. which were formerly
      on the land,
    • The current state of the national and regional economies, and in particular the demand for
      land in the areas,
    • Conscious political choice by successive national governments.”
    Underlying purpose for type of reuse:
    • Government policy is focused on using brownfield sites for a variety of end uses. It recognises
      the most appropriate uses will vary with local circumstances but the main emphasis is on housing.
    • A mixed use scheme is often encouraged by local authorities with better economic and social
      benefits.
    • There is insufficient emphasis on soft regeneration and a lack of funding.
     
    4: Management tools / decision support and guidance

    No further information available

    5. Authors
    
    
     
        
    6. Acknowledgements
    Based on the document 'State of the Art - Country Profile; United Kingdom' availabel from CABERNET