£1.8bn to Deliver Homes on Derelict Land

Hundreds of thousands of new homes will be built on derelict and unused land through a £1.8 billion package of investment to regenerate land and level up across the country, announced by the Chancellor in his Budget and Spending Review.

£300 million of locally-led grant funding will be awarded to Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing, promoting inner city regeneration and protecting the countryside.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has said: “We are investing in better quality, safer, greener and more affordable homes to create thriving places where people want to live. One of my favourite pastimes is to go for walks in the park with my family, and I want to make sure everyone has green space on their doorstep to enjoy too. Transforming our unloved and neglected urban spaces will help protect our cherished countryside and green spaces, while improving the physical and mental health of our communities.”

A new £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund that will enable Local Authorities to transform over 100 neglected urban spaces across the UK into ‘pocket parks’, providing small green oasis in built up areas, roughly the size of a tennis court, in built-up locations.

We warmly welcome any moves to ensure that urban regeneration is promoted in a sustainable way that greens our environment, fosters bio-diversity and improves the quality of life.

Sustainable Development & Levelling Up among ideas considered in Brownfield First

There has been a dramatic drop in new residential projects on land that had already been developed, from 40% in 2014, to just 20% in 2018.

EIC argues in their recent launch that brownfield development can help meet ambitions around levelling up, but in order to do so further planning reforms, as well as new tax reliefs and development incentives, are required.

The proposals in the report for the greenfield surcharge, which would be added to the infrastructure levy proposed in recent planning changes, would see the funds earmarked by local authorities for infrastructure spending to help mitigate the higher development costs often associated with brownfield.

Commenting on Brownfield FirstMatthew Farrow, director of policy at EIC, says: “Our analysis shows that developers are making significantly less use of brownfield, yet there is huge potential for it to deliver ambitions around levelling up. Not only can it help find the space for 300,000 homes a year, but it can also funnel new investment to those traditionally underfunded post-industrial towns, cities and communities.

“Our practical, common-sense proposal around a greenfield surcharge would revitalise brownfield development, help to deliver homes, and ensure that we are making the most of this chronically underused asset.”

Additionally the report seeks improvements to the economic viability of marginal brownfield projects by increasing land remediation tax relief on sites with fewer than 25 units, and to update the definition of derelict land to incorporate all sites that have been abandoned for more than a decade.

Finally, it argues that new funding earmarked for levelling-up, either through the new National Infrastructure Bank or the Levelling Up Fund, should specifically favour brownfield proposals over greenfield.

CO2nstruct Zero

The Construction Leadership Council has announced CO2nstruct Zero a programme to drive carbon out of all parts of the construction sector, from manufacturing and design to construction and operation. This move is intended to highlight those priorities that the industry must tackle in order to reduce carbon.

This is with the aim of ensuring that the construction sector to play its part in achieving the UK government’s objective of net zero for the whole economy by 2050.

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