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Environmental engineers add weight to brownfield-first planning battle

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (Ciwem) has urged planning minister Greg Clark to carry forward a “brownfield-first” policy into the final version of planning reforms.

The government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework, currently out for consultation, replaces 1,000 pages of detailed planning guidance with a short and focused note. Environmental groups fear the move is a sop to the development lobby who can profit more from developing on greenfield sites. The National Trust’s petition against the reforms has attracted 100,000 signatures.

Last week planning minister Greg Clark conceded that the draft policy was vaguely worded but stressed that it was never the government’s intention to depart from the “obviously desirable situation” in which derelict land be brought back into use. Ciwem said today that it welcomed this statement and urged the brownfield first policy to be carried into the final version of the document.

“There is a current presumption to use brownfield sites first and this must be clearly spelled out in the final National Planning Policy Framework,” said Ciwem contaminated land network chairman Gary Winder.

“Using previously developed sites has many significant recognised benefits — addressing neglected and disused land, recycling land back into sustainable use, improving the environment by addressing contamination issues and helping to enhance and regenerate local communities.

“It is essential that the opportunities and importance of regenerating brownfield land are recognised in the final policy document.”

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