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Government Encourages Building On Smaller Brownfield Sites

In a recent parliamentary statement, the Government has encouraged the redevelopment of Brownfield sites by agreeing that small housing plots on this type of land will no longer be subject to obligation.

A potential hazard due to its former industrial and commercial uses, Brownfield sites may be contaminated by low concentrations of waste or pollutions however do have the potential to be reused once cleansed.

Under the new statements, sites of fewer than 10 units, which have a maximum combined gross floor space of 1,000 square metres, should no longer have to pay the tariff-style contributions for general funding pots for infrastructure.

Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis said: “By lowering the construction cost of small-scale new build housing and home improvements, these reforms will help increase housing supply.

“In particular, they will encourage development on smaller Brownfield sites and help to diversify the house building sector by providing a much-needed boost to small and medium-sized developers, which have been disproportionately affected by the Labour government’s 2008 housing crash. The number of small-scale builders has fallen to less than 3,000 – down from over 6,000 in 1997.

“We expect implementation of these measures to have a significant positive impact on housing numbers by unlocking small scale development and boosting the attractiveness of Brownfield sites. This will provide real incentive for small builders and to people looking to build their own home.”

However, this does not mean Brownfield sites are exempt from key environmental assessments needed for acquiring planning permission. Instead, agb Environmental would like to remind developers that although this Government initiative will decrease building costs, any land that has been previously built on will still require a Phase 1 Desk Study to discover any potential lurking contaminates.

Providing a full site history investigation, as well as on-site intrusive assessments, such as soil sampling, agb Environmental will conduct a Phase 2 Desk Study if any contamination is found to be a risk to either human health or the wider environment. This means that the developers can decide if the work needed is financially viable.

If required, remediation services can then be employed before validation that will complete any planning requirements. Taking into consideration the entire development, agb Environmental’s project management services are ideal for Brownfield sites that will need careful environmental considerations from the outset.

For more information about Brownfield and contaminated sites, please contact Alex Brearley on 01638 663226 or email

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