More joined up thinking needed on brownfield development

Confusion over the definition of sustainability and lack of communication between policy makers and developers means brownfield development is not reaching its full potential across Europe.

These are the key findings of a study carried out by the Forestry Commission’s Forest Research agency and colleagues from the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute.

The research claims that more joined-up thinking is needed to ensure the redevelopment of brownfield sites is truly sustainable and calls for greater co-operation between planners and developers.

It says there is a very different understanding of what sustainability means amongst those involved in different stages of the development process.

This is leading to a fragmentation in responsibilities and a lack of continuity during greenspace creation, establishment and management, say the researchers, and this creates serious obstacles to achieving long-term site sustainability.

Kieron Doick from Forest Research, one of the co-authors of the paper, said: “For any land regeneration project to be sustainable, it is essential that all partners state what they mean by, and how they expect to demonstrate, ‘sustainability’. Currently, the term is open to very different and often inconsistent perceptions.”

The paper highlights the need to clearly identify and assign sustainability objectives to land regeneration and greenspace establishment projects, and the importance of monitoring progress.

Dr Doick added: “Joined-up thinking is required for projects to be truly sustainable. In our article, we offer practical solutions so that all parties know what one another’s requirements and expectations are.”

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie