With the current concerns for climate change every effort is upon conserving energy, minimising our carbon footprint and increasing sustainability.
Although there is a great demand for affordable housing there is an underlying conflict with using Greenfield sites. Establishing new roads and transport links in itself is adding to the already increasing carbon footprint, not to mention the ongoing encroachment onto our Greenbelt.
For eco-friendly land investment the solution is to develop on Brownfield sites. Brownfield sites are land previously used and developed for commercial purposes, often situated close to residential and industrial areas. The main concern for development of Brownfield site is that the land is often contaminated having lain idle for a period of time and there can be high concentration of waste or pollution leading. This factor often deters many investing Brownfield’s; the cost to clean the site to a safe standard can often cost more than the land will be worth after redevelopment. Further to this when left barren and unused Brownfield’s can attract much wildlife; the development of the land would destroy their habitat, although the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is recommending that sustainable urban drainage systems can in fact maintain and enhance biodiversity.
Although there are several disadvantages to developing Brownfield’s investors should not be deterred; with the Government aiming to have 60% of developments done on already developed land it seems a wiser choice to invest in post-developed land rather than undeveloped. Through the help of the Government and the Environmental Agency developers are receiving adequate help and advice on how best to develop sites, and the current redevelopment of the Ravenscraig Steelworks into 3,500 homes is evidence that Brownfield development is most definitely on the land developers’ radar.
The development of Brownfield sites not only encourages urban regeneration it plays a part in the battle against climate change; it eliminates the need to build new road networks and establish transportation links in the country and encourages people to live in the city rather than forcing people to live far from their work requiring them to commute. Through the use of high rise building city planners can accommodate increasing city populations by building up rather than out; encouraging people to live in the city centre where public transport is readily available thus reducing the overall carbon footprint.
So although Brownfield sites do come with many downfalls there is still great room for profit as developers will be keen to take advantage of the many regeneration initiatives occurring in our major cities.