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Brownfield search kicks off city housing initiative

TWO NEW joint government-industry projects have been launched to promote the re-use of brownfield land and help achieve the Government's aim to switch more development away from greenfield sites.

In the first, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Ordnance Survey, the Local Government Management Board, and regeneration agency English Partnerships are undertaking a search for previously developed land in England which might be suitable for new housing.

Identified and recording potential development land in a consistent way should help facilitate the Government's target that 60% of new homes over the next 10 years should be built on previously developed land.

The 10 month project will produce, for the first time, a national gazetteer of available land, which will allow land areas to be measured precisely and individual sites to be assessed within the regional targets for land recycling, which are yet to be set.

The idea was first put forward by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott who commented: 'My aim is to put the heart back in to our cities - and put cities at the heart of our strategy.'

The initiative will form the first phase of DETR's National Land Use Database, which will be developed in stages to assist decision making at national, regional and local level.

A second and complementary initiative, the Urban Mines national brownfield sites project, was launched by Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield and chairman of Urban Mines, at the end of June.

This project aims to establish typology and classification of brownfield land in order to

gauge suitability and potential for development. According to Urban Mines director Professor Peter Roberts of Dundee University, work will be focused on non-residential land uses espec- ially in major metropolitan areas.

The project will run for two years, with funding through the landfill tax credit scheme, and backing from Shanks & McEwan, and BG Property Division. The project team will also work in close collaboration with the National Land Use Database initiative.

Urban Mines is a non-profit environmental organisation which aims to 'mine' or re-use the resources of urban areas.

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