Brownfield Sites

Land that has been previously developed is known as Brownfield land. Previously developed land is defined in Planning Policy Guidance Document 3 "Housing" (2000) PPG3 as land which "is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings), and associated fixed surface infrastructure".

The number of brownfield sites in the UK changes as land is constantly reclaimed or abandoned. Brownfield land was increasing until the 1980s where the need for development land outstripped supply. Land reclamation has brought the amount down with the strong demand for development land.

There are five identifiers used to define brownfield land:

  1. Previously developed land which is now vacant
  2. Vacant buildings
  3. Derelict land and buildings
  4. Other previously developed land or buildings, currently in use, allocated for development in the adopted plan or having planning permission for housing
  5. Other previously developed land or buildings where it is known there is potential for redevelopment.

Buildings and surrounding land that are currently in use for agricultural or forestry purposes are excluded from the definition set out above.

Land in built-up areas that has not been developed previously (e.g. parks, recreation grounds, and allotments are also not classed as brownfield.

Previously developed land with the remains of any structure, for example an old barn, that has now blended into the landscape to the extent that it can be considered as part of the natural surroundings may also be excluded.

A brownfield site may, in addition to this classification, be vacant, derelict or contaminated land.

Common brownfield land might include redundant industrial sites and railways.

Common beneficial uses of reclaimed brownfield land include - the creation of open spaces for public use, woodlands and residential housing development.

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