Charities publish brownfield planning guidance

Development Specialist Richard Carr is a strong believer in keeping the country’s ‘greenbelt’ land untouched by development; his latest project sees a brownfield site unused in 20 years being regenerated as three luxury Homes.

Planning guidance

Earlier this month a network of environmental charities produced a new piece of guidance aimed to ensure that the government’s push for more brownfield housing development doesn’t endanger ‘greenbelt’ land.

The Wildlife and Countryside network, which encompasses 44 voluntary organisations, say that whilst most brownfield development doesn’t come with negative impacts: “small but important number of sites are hugely valuable for both people and wildlife”.

In the network’s report they say that local authorities should: ““encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value.

“With no definition of ‘high environmental value’ available there is a lack of understanding of what this means in practice.

“This leads to delays in the planning process and ultimately causes sites of high value for wildlife to be lost with little, inappropriate or no mitigation.”

Guidelines

Within the report, it highlighted a number of guidelines, two of which are below:

  1. A site should be considered of high environmental value if it holds a nature conservation designation, such as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, or is defined as a Local Wildlife Site or equivalent in local planning policy.
  2. A site should be considered high environmental value if it contains a priority habitat listed under section 41 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

Victoria Bankes Price, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s land use planning working group, said: “We hope that the clarity we have provided will mean that brownfield sites that come forward for development are subject to the appropriate ecological assessments, which will ensure sustainable development whilst protecting and enhancing greenspaces and the wonderful wildlife they support”.

Richard Carr believes that building on brownfield is better and should be the focus for developers and councils alike, however by adding more assessments it could complicate matters further. He believes that there is plenty of room for wildlife in the UK and that we need to build homes!