How is the credit crunch affecting brownfield development?
As the construction sector suffers from recession land remediation is feeling the pinch.
Ian Heasman, brownfield remediation manager for developers Taylor Wimpey, will be looking at how the industry is dealing with the situation when he presents at SustainabilityLive! on Tuesday, May 19.
“I’ll consider the two great challenges of the moment – the credit crunch and the eco crunch,” Mr Heasman told edie.
As the economic climate has darkened, he said, developers have moved away from high-risk projects and focused more on quality.
“There has been a flight from the intense interest in doing things quickly to a much more cost-managed approach,” he said.
He pointed out that the economics of brownfields are more sensitive to downturns than those of greenfields because of the additional costs involved in the clean-up.
There is no longer a stigma attached to former brownfield sites so long as the remediation has been done properly, he argued, but the end product, the houses, have the same market value whether the site used to be a factory or a field.
“That pushes land prices lower and therefore there’s a problem,” he said.
“We’ve seen this in reality, particularly in the north, with a lot of projects no longer looking so attractive and don’t stack up.”
He also spelled out that the more contaminated a site is, the more costly the clean-up and therefore the more likely it is to be affected – the impact on lightly-contaminated sites isn’t being too harshly felt.
Mr Heasman said he would be discussing different land uses, risk assessment, tax, cash flow, and different remedial technologies.
He will also be arguing that while the credit crunch is short term and requires some fancy footwork but the sustainability issues are long term and require a new conceptual framework.
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