Keep using brownfield first!

15th Nov 2011

Yorkshire still has plenty of brownfield land to use for housing and development. Yet Government proposals risk neglecting large areas in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield which need regeneration - and place the countryside at risk.

A new report published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Building in a Small Island, challenges claims that there is a shortage of brownfield land suitable for housing development. The findings bring into question the Government’s proposed national planning policies that would no longer require developers to use previously developed land for any new development before greenfield sites are considered.

The research commissioned by CPRE found that - far from running out - the supply of brownfield land is dynamic and even increasing in some places. For every five suitable housing plots becoming available in England between 2001 and 2009, only three homes where built. In Yorkshire and the Humber, local authorities have used the current planning system to prioritise 2,500 hectares brownfield land for development, taking the pressure off valuable greenfield land. The report also shows that a similar amount of brownfield land is still available in Yorkshire and the Humber for potential development.

So we’re not running out of brownfield land! That’s a myth. Developers should always use appropriate brownfield land for new housing and developments first – it’s the most environmentally, socially and economically sustainable option.

The brownfield first approach was first introduced in 1995. The study found that over 143 square miles of brownfield land have been developed for housing since 1995 - safeguarding large areas of Green Belt and other countryside across England. If this development had taken place on greenfield land, an area seven times the size of Southampton, or over 52,647 football pitches, would have been lost to new development.

We know that there’s a need for more housing. But making it easier for developers to build on more profitable greenfield sites when there are still plenty of brownfield areas in South Yorkshire that need regeneration is really wrong. The brownfield first approach must be included in the Government’s final National Planning Policy Framework. South Yorkshire’s land is a finite resource, and we should recycle it whenever possible.

Keep the brownfield first policy!

Please sign our petition to Nick Clegg demanding that the new National Planning Policy Framework keeps the brownfield first policy.