The Land Development Agency, seen by those in Government circles as one of the last remaining big policy moves to tackle the housing crisis, is expected to be permitted to use compulsory-purchase orders to acquire lands neighbouring the State sites, similar to how the Dublin Docklands Development Agency and other organisations operated. The agency will have €1.25 billion available to it to purchase sites to assemble land banks that would be suitable for development.
The agency will encourage developers to construct houses on State-owned lands, offered at discounted rates, in exchange for building a certain number of social and affordable homes.
Source – Irish Times
What is a Brownfield Site?
Brownfield land is a term used in urban planning to describe any previously developed land that is not currently in use, whether contaminated or not, or more specifically to describe land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes i.e.
- Former factories
- Military bases
with known or suspected pollution including soil contamination due to hazardous waste i.e.
- Heavy metals e.g. arsenics, cadmium and lead
- Oils and tars
- Chemical substances and preparations e.g. solvents
- Radioactive substances
Assessment of the Site
Property owners, developers, regulators, prospective buyers and others interested in exploring opportunities involved with brownfield land, should seek professional advice before investing.
All brownfield sites need to be assessed by an experienced environmental consultant before they can be redeveloped. This involves an analysis of the soil, groundwater and surface water through testing for hazardous compounds, and ensures that appropriate measures are taken to reduce identified risks and liabilities.
Verde Environmental Consultants offer consulting services to property owners, developers, regulators, prospective buyers and others interested in exploring opportunities involved with brownfield land. Our clients utilise Verde’s expertise and network of strategic resources to fully explore contaminated properties. Knowledge of the latest laws and guidelines allows the feasibility of our client’s property for redevelopment to be assessed properly. Our approach is to work with clients to mitigate potential liabilities. Based on our evaluation and expertise, clients are able to make informed decisions regarding their property.
Remediation of the Site
Remediation of a brownfield site is the removal of all known contaminants to levels considered safe for human health. Redevelopment can only take place after all environmental health risks have been assessed and removed. Remediation can be expensive and complex, and this needs to be seriously considered before purchasing brownfield land. Not all sites are deemed suitable for remediation, particularly if the costs exceed the value of the land after development.
In the last few years several new and exciting remediation technologies have started to emerge. These are proving to be relatively low-cost compared to traditional processes, with the benefit of protecting and preserving the environment:
- Bioremediation uses the natural processes of indigenous bacteria, microorganisms, plants, enzymes and fungi to destroy or neutralise toxins and contaminants.
- Phytoremediation uses plants to store contaminants in their leaves and stems (bioaccumulation). Some contaminants such as heavy metals can be harvested and mined for reuse (phytomining). With phytoremediation, it is critical that contaminants do not enter the food chain. With this in mind, scientists are currently exploring the value of biofuel and energy crops as phytoremediators.
- In-Situ Chemical Oxidation injects oxygen or chemical oxidants into the contaminated soil or water to destroy harmful compounds.
As one of the leading and highly respected remediation companies in Ireland, Verde Environmental Consultants provide a variety of environmental remediation services for brownfield sites and contaminated land.
Contact our specialist consultants today on 1890 20 10 20 if you are considering investing in a brownfield site and would like to avail of our specialist environmental management advice.