The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is responsible for policy on brownfield land in England, with href='http://www.englishpartnerships.co.uk'>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
The White Paper contained specific proposals to 'use the tax and planning systems to bring previously-developed 'brownfield' sites and empty property
- '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.'
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
This land-use objective is also specifically linked to a further objective 'to enhance sustainable economic development and social cohesion through integrated
- 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
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
For England, English Partnerships is developing a comprehensive National Brownfield Strategy. This is being formulated during 2005 and is due to be published
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.
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)