Brownfield skills drive to support housing growth in England

A national review of the skills needed to reuse brownfield land is underway as part of preparations to meet massive government house building targets.

>National regeneration agency English Partnerships and the Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC) has announced the review in the face of government proposals for three million new homes - a minimum of 60% on brownfield land.

Professor Paul Syms, national brownfield advisor at English Partnerships, said: "Re-using brownfield land for housing and other uses protects greenfield land and tackles the blight of dereliction on communities.

"Ensuring that people have appropriate brownfield skills is fundamental to meeting these objectives."

The review is designed to identify the true extent of a perceived skills gap in the brownfield sector.

The results will inform a new national strategy to ensure there are enough brownfield professionals to help meet the 60% target in the future.

Trudy Birtwell, the ASC's director of learning and skills, said: "The successful reuse of land is not just about physical transformation but also the environmental, social and economic aspects of creating places.

"For this to be successful, we not only need to ensure an adequate supply of brownfield professionals in the future, but also build where we can on the skills base of existing practitioners."

Research will include identifying skills gaps that could hinder brownfield land reuse and gaps in the provision of education and training opportunities.

The findings will form the basis of a National Brownfield Skills Strategy to be published early next year.

Other brownfield strategy recommendations are being progressed through the Housing Green Paper.

Stakeholders across the sector are being invited to take part in the research via online surveys, workshops and case studies.

The consultation document can be found at

The closing date for responses is November 23, 2007.

David Gibbs



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