Thinking Of Developing Brownfield Land? – What You Need To Know

A brownfield site is defined as land which has experienced previous development, however is no longer being used. The opposite of brownfield is greenfield which is defined as land which has never experienced development. The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) promotes the “effective use of land” making “as much use as possible of previously developed or ‘brownfield’ land”. This is attracting many developments on brownfield land as local authorities are instructed to give “substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land and support appropriate opportunities to remediate despoiled, degraded, derelict, contaminated or unstable land”. There is also a precedence within the UK to protect the Green Belt, reducing urban sprawl, in a time where the UK government has set out a housing target of building 300,000 homes a year.




So, what are the advantages to developing brownfield sites?

  • Brownfield land is not in short supply (CPRE – The countryside charity states the current brownfield housing capacity is 1,466,214 net dwellings across English local authorities)
  • Planning permission for brownfield sites is more straight forward and more easily granted as opposed to greenfield sites. (CPRE states 45% of the housing capacity in 2022 already held planning permission)
  • Better accessibility including roads and services such as water, electric, gas, drainage which often already exists on-site
  • Developing brownfield sites combines the three pillars of sustainable development: economically, through generating development and employment in sometimes deprived urban areas; environmentally, through remediation of contaminated sites; socially, by rejuvenating unused urban areas

What are the disadvantages to developing brownfield sites?

  • Brownfield sites aren’t always straight forward to develop commonly comprising deteriorating derelict buildings which may need to be demolished
  • Brownfield sites may be contaminated from the previous industrial land-use requiring clean-up and remediation
  • Brownfield sites are sometimes located in areas where surrounding structures exist which may cause problems during the construction phase
  • Brownfield land which has been derelict for some time may have been occupied by plants and wildlife

What can Geo-Integrity do to help your brownfield development?

Here at Geo-Integrity, we offer our clients all four phases required to tackle brownfield development: Phase I Desk Study, Phase 2 Site Investigation, Phase 3 Remediation and Phase 4 Verification. Our experience with brownfield sites across the United Kingdom enables us to produce detailed and accurate conceptual site models allowing our clients to have a clear understanding of the potential contamination present and geotechnical hazards. Following this we provide cost effective site investigations for both small and large brownfield sites. We have multiple intrusive methods at our disposal whether it be trial pitting, boreholes, in-situ testing, monitoring as well as laboratory testing of soils and groundwater to accurately determine any contaminants on site and acquire geotechnical parameters for geotechnical design. Should the results of the site investigation identify contamination (not always the case) we can provide the remedial strategy, often forming part of a condition, which outlines from start to finish the steps required to remediate the site. The final step is verification which proves to the local authority the remediation has been undertaken correctly.



If you are thinking of developing a brownfield site or require assistance with your development, please give us a call on 01280 816409 or drop us an email on We can help you.

Write a comment

Comments: 0