Overhaul planned for brownfield register

The national database of brownfield sites needs to catch up with industry developments if the UK is to deliver on its goal of 60% of new homes on previously-used land by 2020.

While technology and the kind of intelligence developers are after has moved on since the launch of the National Land Use Database of Previously Developed Land (NLUD-PDL) ten years ago, the way information is fed in has changed little.

English Partnerships, the body responsible for the database, asked academics at Kingston University to come up with recommendations on how the system could be improved.

The goal is to replace the dated NLUD-PDL with a system that is more accurate, comprehensive and easier for local authorities to maintain.

Recommended changes include:

  • Listing sites by their boundaries, rather than recording a single point and the size of the site.
  • Making the online database accessible to the public and allowing individual planning authorities to easily update listings in their areas.
  • Keep records of brownfield sites which have been developed on the database to allow for easy tracking of trends and progress.
  • Make the structure of the database more flexible so that it can adapt to changes in planning policy.
  • Olga McFarland, senior researcher at English Partnerships said: “This review is timely. Since NLUD-PDL was first implemented, technology and policy have moved on faster than anyone could have imagined.

    “As national brownfield advisor for England, English Partnerships is committed to identifying and helping to unlock land for redevelopment and other uses – a key strand of the National Brownfield Strategy.

    “As such, we welcome future improvement to and development of NLUD’s capabilities as part of our strategic toolkit, particularly as we move towards the new Homes and Communities Agency.”

    Sam Bond

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