The government has recently announced that thousands of residential properties will be built on public land over the upcoming five years. This will be supported by a £1.2 billion investment to remediate brownfield sites so that they are suitable for construction.
Use of Brownfield Sites
Brownfield sites have long been seen by many parties as ideal for construction projects, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England suggests that more than one million homes could be built on such land.
However, there are also those within the industry who believe the lack of suitable brownfield sites could hamper the government’s house building targets: 30% of respondents to a McBains Cooper survey said that there wasn’t sufficient brownfield land available.
A new brownfield register which will require all local authorities to list their sites and permission in principle should encourage their usage, as developers can easily see if permission is likely to be granted.
Testing Brownfield Sites
Before brownfield land can be built on, there are environmental elements that need to be factored in to determine the exact levels of contaminants in the soil and how these can be dealt with. There is a range of dangerous substances that could be present on the land, and the Environment Agency produced the WM3 consultation document in 2015 to update the guidance on these.
Land remediation specialists such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/ can work with home builders to assess the brownfield land and test for potential hazards. These could include Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which are toxic chemicals that can have a number of safety, health and ecological concerns – in the worst-case scenario they can result in death.
A number of pollutants fall under the classification of POPs, with furans and dioxins seen as some of those that are most dangerous. They can be created during industrial processes and are particularly prevalent on sites that were previously used for chemical or manufacturing waste storage.
It’s vital that the appropriate tests are conducted on soil samples from brownfield land to ensure that the results are reliable and accurate. More sophisticated tests are now carried out using comprehensive techniques so that brownfield land can be deemed safe.
The technology behind remediation is constantly developing, and house builders can take advantage of the innovations to increase development on brownfield sites and help to solve the housing crisis.