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UK Chancellor’s fund for housing development on land in need of remediation

The UK government has announced that it will give £600m in funding to help deliver infrastructure projects that will unlock an estimated 50,000 homes.   Chancellor Sajid Javid revealed on Saturday that the money would be given to five new infrastructure projects across the country that would open up sites for housing development.

The money will come from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, the £5.5bn fund that was launched by Mr Javid in 2017 when he was housing secretary, and is aimed at giving money to local authorities that have plans to increase housing supply but have sites restricted by lack of infrastructure, or land in need of remediation work.

The largest recipient of this round of funding was Essex County Council, which has received £317m to deliver two new infrastructure schemes. This includes £218m for a new train station and bypass near Chelmsford, which aims to unlock 14,000 homes, and £99.9m for a new link road near Colchester, which will unlock 7,500 homes.

Peabody and Enfield Council’s £6bn Meridian Water project will also benefit from the money, with £156m being given to deliver rail works, road infrastructure, land remediation and utilities work for the 10,000-home development.

Central Bedfordshire Council was given £69.6m to deliver new transport infrastructure to unlock 3,000 homes and the Greater London Authority secured £80.8m to go towards rail improvements on the East London line to improve access for 14,000 new homes.

The latest funding takes the amount handed out by the government through the Housing Infrastructure Fund to more than £1.2bn since it was launched, with this money unlocking an estimated 76,500.

The latest round of money has come through the government’s forward funding, aimed at high-cost and high-impact infrastructure schemes that endeavour to unlock a large number of homes.

The other funding stream is the marginal viability stream, which is handed to local authorities to provide the final or missing piece of funding for infrastructure schemes to get additional sites unblocked quickly.

Mr Javid said: “I want to see more homes built in the places people want to live, so more people realise the dream of homeownership.  But we need the roads, rail links and schools to support the families living in those homes, which is why I set up a fund to put in place the infrastructure to unlock new homes in these areas.  And today I’m announcing hundreds of millions in new investment, helping more people get on the property ladder and allowing more communities to flourish.”

Source – Inside Housing

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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 soilgroundwater 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.