Greenwich Peninsula regeneration

The Millennium Dome, as the flagship development on a massive regenerated site on the Greenwich Peninsula, symbolises not only the new era but also the vast potential that the remediation of brownfield sites can offer, as a new Government study spells out

Confirmation of the potential value of brownfield redevelopment, through a combination of reclamation technology and investment, comes in new Government research into the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula in London.

Commenting on the study, DETR Regeneration Minister Hilary Armstrong, said: "The impact of the peninsula developments will extend long after the Millennium celebrations, providing lasting economic opportunities ­ locally and across the Thames Gateway. The transformation of the peninsula from a wasteland to a vibrant area of prosperity and activity shows just what regeneration with a vision can achieve."

The report shows that the clean-up and development of the peninsula, including the Millennium Dome, the Greenwich Millennium Village and a new park, have provided jobs, funding and a focus for regeneration programmes. The study estimates that about 20-40% (£25-50 million) of the value of Single Regeneration Budget (SEB) programmes awarded in the local area in the late 1990s was geared to exploit opportunities presented by the peninsula developments.

The decision to locate the Millennium Experience on the peninsula in 1996 prompted much of the regeneration activity that rapidly followed, the study notes. English Partnerships became involved as the landowner of the former British Gas site on the peninsula in February 1997. It took on the responsibility for land decontamination and site preparation for the Greenwich Peninsula developments as a whole.

The current masterplan envisages an innovative mixed-use development. Part of this encompasses the Greenwich Millennium Village, with its associated retail, leisure and hotel developments. "However," the study emphasises, "until the future use of the Dome is determined, the way in which the remainder of the peninsula will actually be developed remains uncertain."

Dealing with development so far, the study estimates that £150-155 million of public expenditure will have been associated with regeneration activity linked to the peninsula developments carried out to date. The report for the DETR also states that possible future outputs include: 80 hectares of fully remediated and serviced land and 30 hectares of partially remediated land which has already been achieved; 1,377 mixed tenure homes in the Millennium Village and a further 1,600 elsewhere on the peninsula: and a range of environmental improvements (eg to the riverside).

Protection at the Dome
One of the technical features of the wide-ranging use of decontamination techniques applied to flagship Greenwich Peninsula site was the use a flexible membrane to seal the entire floor area of the Dome.

For a century the land where the Millennium Dome has been erected was the site for Port Greenwich Gasworks, causing the soil to be extensively contaminated by coal gasification waste. Contamination could be found in land to a depth of four metres.

The first clean-up of the land was conducted by British Gas. This involved the removal of material which was in danger of causing pollution ­ ground water being particularly susceptible. Around 700,000 tonnes was taken away to designated dumps.

The remaining land was subjected to various processes to rid it of contaminate particles ­ washing, soil vapour extraction and speeding up aerobic biodegradation by drawing oxygen into the ground. The work, undertaken by Nuttall, was complete in December 1997.

English Partnerships, the current owner of the site where millions of visitors are expected to visit the Dome, and where a priority is ecological welfare in the development of surrounding land, has ensured that the remaining contaminated land is effectively managed.

The Millennium Dome covers an area of around 80,000m2. The entire floor area was sealed by a flexible membrane liner to prevent contaminated particles from rising upwards. Geofabrics MP400 is being used as a protection barrier to the gas membrane, both inside the dome and associated external buildings. Geofabrics MP400 offers a high puncture resistance of 3,000N for a lightweight geotextile of 400g/m.

Liner installer for the project was Landline.

Contaminated land guidance
The regeneration of brownfield sites, on a nation-wide scale, is likely to gather momentum now that the Government¹s Contaminated Land Guidance has been published in its final version.

Published on 16 February 2000, the DETR¹s Contaminated Land (England) Regulations 2000 & Statutory Guidance: Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) (Final) deals with the regulations and statutory guidance which form key elements in the implementation of the new regulatory regime for the legacy of contaminated land.

The statutory guidance covers five distinct aspects of the regime: the definition of contaminated land; its identification; its remediation; exclusions from and apportionment of liabilities for the cost of remediation: and recovery of the cost of remediation.


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