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Issue 120 | March 2011

Part 2A consultation highlights weaknesses DEFRA’s proposals to reform Part2A guidance are hitting red and amber lights from both regulators and industry, particularly plans for “traffic light” categorisation of contaminated sites and possible undermining of planning. The wide-ranging consultation on proposed new statutory guidance was closing as BB went to press, but already it’s clear there is significant hostility to many of DEFRA’s proposals and its intention to implement it on 1 October faces a very bumpy ride. Regulators who have to implement it are the most critical. Environment Protection UK, for instance, rejected the view that lack of clarity in current guidance has slowed progress which it says is actually due to lack of funding. It points out the recent determination of a primary school disproves the belief there are no high-risk sites. DEFRA’s attempt to downplay the issue that has dogged Part 2A – human health risk assessment – by stressing other factors like damage to health of people stressed to discover their properties are contaminated, the cost and economic drawbacks of determination and other socio-economic factors has failed to persuade many respondents. While some are prepared to allow consideration of the possibility of significant harm (POSH) from a site before considering significant harm (SPOSH), the proposed red-amber-green classification for sites has drawn a lukewarm response from industry and rejection by regulators. The Environmental Industries Commission said the definition of “amber” sites could cause unnecessary blight (News, p4) while EPUK said the process is worthless as “red” and “green” sites are straightforward anyway and “amber” sites have always been the problem. EPUK agrees the health effects of action need weighing, but says it should not affect whether a site should be “amber-red” or “amber-green” and guidance should stress that health is the over-riding consideration. “Social, economic and environmental impacts of the remediation, and whether the benefits of remediation would outweigh the impacts have no place in consideration of whether SPOSH exists, beyond the extent to

which they affect the scientific assessment itself such as the exposure of the receptor,” it says. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health put the blame for inappropriate determinations squarely on lack of SPOSH guidance rather than the existing statutory guidance generally. It denies that councils are unclear about the decisions they should make or that legal and scientific difficulties are insuperable, but it blames the Environment Agency’s unwillingness to co-operate for the system’s conservatism. The Institute sees no point in a traffic light system in a continuous spectrum of risk. It says the difficulties do not arise at the extremes but in the “amber” zone and that’s because evidence to link soil contaminants to ill-health is inadequate. The CIEH rejects the view that councils should consider the health drawbacks of determination: “Extraneous considerations necessarily load decisions against the considerations of health which head the list of the regime’s objectives.” The Institute says the proposed guidance deliberately seeks to raise the bar on what is contaminated, facilitating development at the expense of health protection. It says DEFRA lacks evidence on which to base its conclusions and its failure to stimulate the science base is central to the regime’s difficulties. The proposals’ effects on the planning system also attracted criticism. EPUK says it would be inappropriate for the guidance to constantly refer to planning and voices fears – widespread among respondents - at the forthcoming abolition of PPS23. It says there is already evidence of sites poorly managed under planning and recommends mandatory verification reports. Some areas, like controlled waters contamination, have drawn less criticism, but DEFRA’s proposals are very far from achieving the united support it sought. uwww.environmental-protection.org.uk/ news/detail/?id=2782

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In this Issue 2

Policy Some coalfield sites to lose funding... ...£50m slashed from physical regeneration New Homes Bonus will be “cash for sprawl” Ministers’ planning attack slammed

4 Contaminated land Categories and planning worry industry Soil asbestos regulation survey Cuts to superfund next year 6 Planning Cameron’s planning attack draws fire... ...and so does Cable’s Regulators urge guidance retention... ...while planners want broad framework 8 Feature: Is the glass half full, or is it half empty? 12 Regions 14 Regions | International 15 International |Legal 16 Legal | waste 17 Waste | people 18 Companies & bodies | tenders 19 Diary | Redevelopment & Brownfield Finance Conference 20 Comment Newzeye is able to provide site licences and tailored newsfeeds on request. Contact Siobhan Smyth, Tel: +44 (0)20 8969 1008 or siobhansmyth@newzeye.com

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| brownfieldbriefing | March 2011

POLICY

Ulster superstore tax could help small shops Proposals have been announced in the Northern Ireland Executive’s budget to impose a levy on large retail properties – including out-of-town centres - to double the small business rate relief scheme, including small shops. Presenting his final budget for 2011-5 to the Assembly, finance minister Sammy Wilson said the spending review had cost Northern Ireland £4bn over the review period and he was looking to see how money could be better used. “I want to rebalance the system of business rates, and my Department will be bringing forward proposals to significantly extend the small business rate relief scheme – effectively doubling the current position of reliefs,” he said. “I will be looking to crosssubsidise this by applying a levy to large retail properties, including major out of town shopping developments which have not fared too badly during this downturn compared to our smaller businesses.” He said the impact of this would need to be assessed and the details worked out but he hoped to introduce it in April 2012. Mr Wilson also made other announcements affecting development and noted the £5m Belfast Port had been expected to provide for the Paint Hall development would not be forthcoming and it would now have to be funded from the Executive’s resources. The £70m earmarked for Belfast’s Royal Exchange retail development has also been put on hold but social development minister Alex Atwood said the money had been needed to cover an accounting treatment for money coming in and out of his Department’s books to cover land assembly and would ultimately be funded by the developer. He said such major schemes take time to bring forward due to the complexity of planning and development and the retail downturn had further complicated matters. “Royal Exchange is an essential element of Belfast and Northern Ireland’s regeneration, and therefore a key project that my Department remains fully committed to,” he said. “My Department is satisfied that Royal Exchange can be brought forward within a timescale that will meet the need for additional retail capacity and market demand for a second major scheme in Belfast city centre.” uwww.northernireland.gov.uk/news-dfp04032011-finance-minister-sammy uhttp://www.northernireland.gov.uk/newsdsd-040311-attwood-comments-on

policy

Some coalfield sites to lose funding… The Government is to review the National Coalfields Programme’s remaining sites during April to consider removing sites and revising targets - and will look in particular at risks such as the market and planning to complex sites like the Avenue coking works. The news came as part of the Government’s response to Michael Clapham’s review of coalfields regeneration published last autumn which highlighted a wind-down of physical regeneration. The Government has accepted a number of Mr Clapham’s recommendations, particularly those stressing a stronger local authority role, but the 15 NCP sites (out of the original 107) which still require substantial work or funding will now be subject to review. The Homes & Communities Agency has reviewed the Programme and will recommend which sites will be withdrawn and which modified. “Both the Department and the HCA is committed to ensuring that the remaining sites will be subject to full and detailed discussion with the local authorities, and other stakeholders including the regional development agency, other agencies and delivery partners relevant to the site,” says the DCLG response. “Within the remaining sites there are a small number of key strategic projects which are currently unfunded. These projects will be considered alongside emerging priority regeneration projects as part of the local investment planning and

local enterprise partnership processes.” The response says colliery sites can be complex and not all can be completed as originally envisaged and sometimes there is no longer a realistic fundable development project or commercial investor. Reprioritisation will reflect council and community objectives and programme investment criteria. It says the HCA analysis will review all priorities and the impact of withdrawing from particular sites. Local authorities will be fully engaged in the process. But, in response to Mr Clapham’s recommendation that central government support for coalfield areas should be maintained, DCLG only says support will be made available to allow contractually committed NCP programmes to continue. It says this will meet the clear and continuing need for land-based remediation in coalfield areas, but it makes no commitment to fund clear and continuing remediation needs where no current contract exists. It says April’s review will consider risks to delivery such as the market and planning risk that could affect capacity and timescale as well as looking at those sites that are more complex to deliver such as the Avenue. “This assessment will produce an outputs range based upon given assumptions,” it says. uwww.communities.gov.uk/publications/ regeneration/reviewcoalfieldsgovresponse

…£50m slashed from physical regeneration Housing minister Grant Shapps welcomed the Clapham review by saying it had made a strong case for targeted support, but it is unacceptable that hundreds of millions have been spent on coalfield regeneration while remaining plagued by unemployment and fragile economic recovery. He added that future regeneration activity would depend on residents and business leaders. Responding to the review, he said the over-riding priority is to reduce the national deficit and funding would be lower. He announced that the Homes & Communities Agency would have a budget of £150m to complete work on the National Coalfields Programme of physical regeneration. The Clapham review said £257m had so far been spent on physical regeneration on the 107 NCP sites but £203m remains to be spent. The funding means a substantial cut

and the response says a review will now be carried out of non-contracted work on the remaining 15 sites. “It will need to be closely targeted at the most deprived areas and in helping communities to develop plans which are not reliant on public subsidy in future,” said Mr Shapps. But shadow communities minister Caroline Flint said the Government didn’t want to admit coalfield communities are still suffering from the damage inflicted in the 1980s. “Labour invested £1.5bn in coalfield regeneration creating employment or training for 150,000 people,” she said. “In contrast, this Conservative-led Government appears to have no plan for jobs, no plan for growth and no interest in helping people back into training or work.” uhttp://tiny.cc/4ws5z

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March 2011 |

policy

New Homes Bonus will be “cash for sprawl” The Government revealed details of its New Homes Bonus just as new figures showed building at its lowest peacetime level since 1923 and prompting accusations the Bonus is just an attempt to buy off objections to sprawl. Housing minister Grant Shapps revealed details of how the Government intends to spend £1bn on the Bonus which will see local authorities’ funding restrictions eased by amounts equivalent to the council tax new homes generate for six years. The Bonus will provide around £9,000 per Band D home and the affordable home level will be up to 36% above that for market homes. “The New Homes Bonus also sits alongside the existing framework for making planning decisions,” said Mr Shapps in a Commons statement. But conservationists warned it would simply be a way of buying off objections to uncontrolled housing sprawl. “The final details of the New Homes Bonus revealed today are a recipe for planning chaos, with potentially grave consequences for the countryside,” said Campaign to Protect Rural England chief

executive Shaun Spiers. “How can any important planning decision be considered impartial and balanced when there is a big pile of cash sitting on the table? It is little more then cash for sprawl.” He said the plan would prompt an upsurge in legal challenges and consents linked to the Bonus face judicial review. But the Home Builders Federation said the Bonus would be a key plank in the new planning system, giving councils and builders clarity and blamed expensive and unnecessary red tape, along with shortages of mortgages, for low building levels. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the Bonus’ impact is likely to be limited – on the Government’s own assessment only likely to generate 14,000 homes a year for the next 10 years. It said only 10% of its members believe it will increase house building. uwww.communities.gov.uk/statements/ corporate/newhomesbonus uwww.cpre.org.uk/news/view/730 uwww.rics.org/site/scripts/news_article. aspx?categoryID=197&newsID=2097

Ministers’ planning attack slammed Far from being an impediment to growth, as senior ministers are now claiming, the planning system is essential to delivering long-term sustainable growth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has warned. The conservation body has launched a furious attack on recent statements by business secretary Vince Cable and chancellor George Osborne attacking planning and suggesting companies should find it easier to obtain planning consent even where there are objections. “The truth is that the planning system does not hinder sustainable growth, it facilitates it,” said head of planning Fiona Howie. “If the Budget undermines sound planning it will be putting the recovery and

the environment at risk.”She said there seemed to be an increasing gap between the Treasury and DCLG over the role and value of planning. “Eric Pickles says he wants to empower local people but George Osborne seems ready to suggest we steamroller them,” she said. “Such a move would pull the rug from under the Government’s localist credentials.” A briefing issued by CPRE charts the changes in policy since the Conservatives’ Open Source Planning document 13 months ago and the coalition agreement last May which promised support for the planning system and greater public involvement. uwww.cpre.org.uk/news/view/735

Another URC closes 1st East, the urban regeneration company set up to pursue regeneration in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is to cease trading on 31 March “in response to the challenging

economic situation”. It had made progress in planning, project development, marketing and investor support. A legacy document is available.

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POLICY

Brownfield moves urged for Budget The Environmental Industries Commission has lobbied the Government to use the Budget to rectify major market failures of unpriced environmental costs and benefits through measures including environmental tax increment financing, brownfield redevelopment and tax incentives for land remediation. A report, Budgetary Kick-Start for a Green Economy, picks up on the Government’s desire for growth and says a fair price should be put on environmental externalities and investment incentives introduced to grow green businesses. It says the global environmental market place is worth £3.2trn while UK environmental industry is valued at £112bn and employs one million people. “The continued success of the UK’s environmental industry will be the engine of growth on which the future of the UK economy depends,” said EIC executive chairman Adrian Wilkes. “Land remediation of brownfield sites has an EU market potential worth £220bn.” The report says tax increment financing could be used to finance redevelopment of brownfield land, waste infrastructure and sustainable urban drainage systems. It also calls for support for land remediation and brownfield development, saying the UK contaminated land sector is worth £1bn a year and employs almost 8,000 people and is expected to grow 3.5% annually up to 2015. It recommends improving land remediation relief by:•allowing developers to claim in year of spend; •extending the relief; •changing the long-term derelict definition; •allowing landfill tax exemptions for asbestos; •allowing the transfer of landfill tax exemptions. It says local authorities should be allowed to use tax increment financing to develop brownfield sites. uwww.eic-uk.co.uk

Scottish CPO review The Scottish Government is seeking views on its plans to issue new guidance on compulsory purchase following complaints current guidance is complex and cumbersome. The current legislation, dating back to 1845, is being reviewed by the Law Commission but reform could be years away. Views are required by 6 May. uhttp://tiny.cc/6kxmo


| brownfieldbriefing | March 2011

C O N T A M I N AT E D L A N D

contaminated land

Categories and planning worry industry

Hollicombe go-ahead The long-running saga of the former Hollicombe gas works has ended with Torbay Borough Council granting planning permission to Midas Homes for 185 flats following years of site investigation and intense local opposition. The site’s significant contamination was originally investigated by Yeandle Geotechnical in 2008, while a subsequent review by Atkins Design Environment & Engineering recommended further work. But, following intense local pressure, the Council then asked Atkins to carry out a further review of whether contamination and risks had been properly assessed, the proposed remediation would deal with risks to health and the environment and would make the site suitable for use and not capable of being determined. In December, Atkins reported in the affirmative but the Committee requested a detailed quantitative risk assessment for offsite receptors during remediation. The review, by Merebrook, concluded earlier health work was robust and well-conceived and there is no reasonable possibility of a risk to off-site receptors. “Three notable contaminants were cited and it was expressed that in regard to arsenic large area of the South West have natural soil concentrations significantly in excess of anything measured on the site, that cyanide is found in concentrations equivalent to those found in foodstuffs such as marzipan, and that the consumption of a well done steak would result in benzo-a-pyrene ingestion greater than what would be predicted by the reasonable daily exposure pathways from the proposed works,” the Committee was told. Remediation proposals include on-site engineered biopiles for hydrocarbons, landfill for other soils, pump-and-treat for groundwater and a hardcore and clean soil cap. A condition requiring tenting was applied. But local objectors remained unmollified “I am totally disgusted,” one told the local paper. “It is an unbelievable decision.” uhttp://tiny.cc/ub1zn

Clean bill in Cannock Soil investigation of a residential area in Pye Green built on a former landfill has enabled Cannock Chase District Council to give the area a clean bill of health. The work, by Grontmij, was funded by DEFRA and involved sampling from gardens. “I hope it gives [residents] peace of mind for their own health and that of future generations,” said Council environment leader Tony Williams.

The Environmental Industries Commission has called proposals to reform the Part 2A statutory guidance “broadly sensible” but has raised significant concerns about the blight the proposed “amber” category could cause and weakening of the planning regime. The lobby group’s response includes comments from a range of practitioners and it is becoming clear the proposed amber category, while attracting some support, has yet to cut the Gordian knot of uncertainty over health risks of contaminated land. It welcomes the commitment to clarifying low-risk sites, the emphasis on uncertainty, the separation of POSH and SPOSH and the need to consider the health effects of determining as well as not determining. “However, EIC do have some concerns that we feel require addressing to enable this guidance to deliver a contaminated land regime that functions effectively and as intended by Government,” says its response. “Many of these concerns relate to how the guidance will be interpreted.” The EIC says the wording used to describe “amber-green” sites could cause

unnecessary blight on such sites and a clearer distinction from “green” sites is needed. It is worried over plans to abolish existing planning guidance and strongly urges the Government to retain sufficient detail to ensure land contamination is dealt with effectively. It points out that both Part 2A and PPS23 use the same basic concepts so it is vital Part 2A guidance can be used for planning. It says the GAC/SGV screening level would fall below the “green/amber” boundary and guidance is therefore needed to define this. Guidance on uncertainties like background concentrations, data quality, conceptual site models, toxicology, risk mitigation and socio-economic factors is required. It welcomes the plan to exclude background contamination from determination decisions but says there are occasions when it must be considered as it can sometimes pose SPOSH. On controlled waters it suggests a table summarising criteria for the eight categories and is worried about what would constitute a “significant concentration” in groundwater. uwww.eic-uk.co.uk/main.cfm

Soil asbestos regulation survey The Environmental Industries Commission is conducting an industry survey on the issue of asbestos in soil as it believes the Part 2A review and the Government’s philosophy of industryproduced, non-statutory guidance dovetailing with statutory frameworks offers a significant opportunity. The lobby group believes there is an opportunity for industry guidance on the investigation, analysis, assessment and remediation of land contaminated with asbestos. It is circulating its survey to the brownfield, asbestos management and regulatory sectors including health and safety officials. The EIC says that, while the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 apply

as much to asbestos in soil as to asbestos in buildings, there is a plethora of guidance to support their application in buildings but not in soil. “UK guidance for assessing risks from asbestos in soil has been evolving since the late 1980s,” it says. “Recently, the Environment Agency promised definitive guidance. This work stalled and it now seems unlikely that the work will be finalised and published in its current form.” The EIC has set up a working group to address this lack of guidance and a primary objective will be to develop closer links between the brownfield and asbestos management sectors to assist understanding of what guidance is needed. uwww.surveymonkey.com/s/AIS-BB

Cuts to Superfund next year America’s Superfund programme will have $70m less to spend in 2012 compared with the current year as the Environmental Protection Agency copes with a 13% cut in its budget as political change in Congress swings the country from stimulus to deficit reduction. The Agency’s $8.973bn budget

for the federal year 2012 is 13% down on its current $10.3bn funding and Superfund must bear its share, on a reduced budget of $1.2bn. “The $70m reduction to Superfund programs will slow the pace of new projects and completion of projects,” said the EPA.


March 2011 |

contaminated land

Next wave of invasive plants identified

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C O N T A M I N AT E D L A N D

Romania’s remediation challenge A Natural England report has set out the level of risk nearly 600 alien plant species pose to becoming invasive threats through a new rapid screening process. The work, undertaken by Plantlife, looked at 599 species already established here but not yet major pests and the level of risk they pose. The two bodies hope the process will make it easier to prioritise resources and tackle the highest risk species early on. “Although most non-native plants do no harm, a small minority become invasive and cause enormous damage to England’s natural environment and economy,” said NE head of biodiversity Peter Brotherton. “This research helps us to predict which plants are likely to be a problem so that we can take action before it is too late. It will provide an early warning system that will help save our wildlife and save us money.” The report identifies 92 species with a five-star “critical” rating, 55 with a fourstar “urgent” rating, 72 with three-star “moderate” risk and 380 as “low risk”. The critical species are divided into terrestrial and freshwater species, with 63 in the former category. These include 14 species of Cotoneaster, tree-of-heaven, false acacia, evergreen oak and many other widely planted ornamental tree and garden species. Lesser and Himalayan knotweed are included, as is Russian vine. “These species are on the brink of becoming invasive but have been overlooked in recent legislative changes

that aimed to provide better protection for the environment from such plants,” said Plantlife chief executive Victoria Chester. “In the long term, preventing potential problem plants from escaping into the wild in the first place is better – and cheaper – than waiting until these plants have already established themselves and need expensive control measures.” Plantlife says comprehensive risk assessments are needed on all 92 critical species urgently. uhttp://naturalengland.etraderstores.com/ NaturalEnglandShop/NECR053 uwww.plantlife.org.uk/about_us/news_ press/here_today_-_here_tomorrow/

Maximising remediation’s economic value Remediation of Europe and America’s contaminated land would cost around €550bn and so far only around 5% of it has been remediated says a new study from Greece which proposes a new method to optimise value for money in remediation. The study, by the National Technical University of Athens in the Journal of Soils and Sediments, proposes an Optimum Remediation Funds Allocation method (ORFA) which, instead of simply deciding which sites to clean, would determine the optimum remediation level in each case in terms of the 3-D geographical boundaries of the soil mass. Its fundamental idea is to treat the contaminated soil as a “negative ore” with a determined economic value. The

paper says this would enable the use of pit optimisation software used in mining like Minemax Planner which uses a push-relabel algorithm. “ORFA can guide remediation starting from the soil blocks which are the most profitable for the society until the point that remediation produces no more social profit,” says the paper. The technique has been used in remediating one of Greece’s most heavily contaminated sites, the Lavrion Technological and Cultural Park, and achieved 99.4% remediation with a 17% cost saving. uwww.springerlink.com/content/ r2rg4488k27h6406/

Romania’s environment and forest minister Laszlo Borbely has warned that his country has 1,000 severely contaminated sites requiring more than a billion euros to remediate and ways are urgently needed to find the money. Opening the annual Romenvirotect International exhibition he said his country has a severe problem with land contamination. A recent estimate put the remediation bill at €2.5-3bn and he said help would be needed from the European Union. “Since last year, we have enjoyed the privilege to grant money by government resolution through the Environmental Protection Authority and we had a first government resolution for €120m for four mining decantation lakes that are to be cleaned,” he said. “We have €100m and are a little behind schedule. We have three contaminated areas to be cleaned, Turda, Frangu and Campina, an operation worth €44m.” He said three or four sites could be added to that but the money is still insufficient. Late last year 80 oil residue sites needing remediation were forced to close, but their owners would only meet €50m of the €450m cost thanks to a 2004 contract agreed by the government. “We will have to ascertain a legal way,” he said. “There is no way we can afford to assign money to clean just from the funds granted by the EU.”

Italy faces action over dump Italy has moved closer to prosecution in the European Court of Justice after it failed to convince the European Commission it had put in place the proper health and environmental safeguards at a former Contaminated soil dump. The Commission issued a reasoned opinion, the second stage of possible prosecution, after Italy failed to provide satisfactory assurances to a letter of formal notice issued in October 2009 over an industrial area in Cengio that is being reclaimed. The move was recommended by environment commissioner Janez Potočnik and Italy now has two months to respond. The Commission says the reclamation area included a landfill of contaminated soil and hazardous waste and should have had an environmental impact assessment before consent was given for development. But the authorities in Italy approved the area’s rehabilitation without such an assessment. uhttp://tiny.cc/1aqbp


| brownfieldbriefing | March 2011

PLANNING

planning

Cameron’s planning attack draws fire…

Leaving the “eco” out of “eco town” CABE has criticised plans for the first phase of the “eco town” urban extension outside Bicester for its low-density and limited eco-credentials. It is concerned that a planning application for an exemplar phase was submitted before the masterplan for the 5,000 home sprawl settlement was completed and says phases should not be planned in isolation. “The idea behind an eco town development is to provide an efficient and intensive scheme layout, however this scheme does not meet these requirements generated by the imperative of efficient use of infrastructure.”

Centralisation of regional planning detailed DCLG chief planner Steve Quartermain has written to English local planning authorities to confirm arrangements to bring planning casework formerly handled by government offices for the regions under centralised Whitehall control. A new National Planning Casework Unit, now underway, will deal with many of the planning activities formerly handled regionally, covering referrals including green belt, listed building, environmental statement, local development orders and Article 4 directions. uwww.communities.gov.uk/documents/ planningandbuilding/pdf/1862176.pdf

Scottish out-of-town stores The Scottish Executive has agreed to seek the views of planning authorities on what additional advice they need on large, out-oftown retail stores. Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser asked a Parliamentary question on whether the Executive would consider and national planning advice note on the subject so planning officers could have access to national benchmarks. Cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth John Swinney responded that views would be sought, citing the retail impact and capacity assessment course offered to council planners. uReport, 17 February, S3W-39563

Regional strategies Planning minister Bob Neill has promised a statement on abolition of regional strategies shortly. He was responding to Green MP Caroline Lucas who asked when he intended to start work on the strategic environmental assessment required prior to revocation following October’s Cala Homes judgement, and about provision for public consultation consistent with the Århus Convention. uHansard, 9 March, Column 1128W

Prime minister David Cameron has sparked anger with an attack on planning, which he described as an enemy of enterprise. At the Conservatives’ spring conference in Cardiff he launched an attack on “town hall officials who take forever with those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business – and the investment and jobs that go with it”. But the Planning Officers’ Society pointed out that the process time for planning applications has actually fallen over the past 10 years and 85% of applications have continued to be approved. “This appears reminiscent of the old Heseltine jibe of jobs being locked up in filing cabinets for which there was no demonstrable evidence,” said John Silvester for the Society. “Planners are keen to secure the right development in the right place at the right time; they will only reject development if it’s inappropriate and will assist in making development happen if it is appropriate. They will not delay matters unreasonably just for delays sake.” The Town & Country Planning Association said planning is vital to the

Government’s growth agenda. It said this would need leadership and a strong strategic narrative and national, strategic and local scale. uwww.conservatives.com/News/ Speeches/2011/03/David_Cameron_ Building_a_better_future.aspx uwww.planningofficers.org.uk/ Planning-Officers-Society-News/ POS-Refutes-Cameron’s-Labelling- of-Planning-Officials-as-_151.htm uwww.tcpa.org.uk/resources.php?action=res ource&id=1029

…and so does Cable’s Planners have also reacted angrily to business secretary Vince Cable’s assertion the planning system is a major barrier to business expansion and social mobility thanks to its effects on house prices. Dr Cable’s speech at the Mansion House set out his vision of growth, free trade, deregulation and removing investment barriers. He said the market in land is dysfunctional, distorted by a slow and prescriptive planning regime, speculative hoarding and an ineffective tax system. “I was recently told of a derelict barn that was denied the planning permission to convert into a bed and breakfast, because it lacked public transport,” he said. “Now, until chickens start commuting, I don’t think barns will normally have bus links. But that is still no reason to let them rot as they are.” He said he heard countless stories of perfectly reasonable developments thwarted by bizarre planning rules and thousands of such decisions added up to a huge missed economic opportunity,preventing “transformative economic opportunities”

like retailers not nerating town centres or international headquarters heading elsewhere He promised planning reform. “Contrary to what you may read, Eric Pickles and I are at one on this,” he said. “We want local communities to benefit from growth, and the standard answer to be yes, not no.” Royal Town Planning Institute president Richard Summers said Dr Cable’s analysis was a curious one and pointed out he admitted on the same day the main drivers for growth are fiscal and monetary conditions. “The slow down in the property market is the main cause of currently limited development activity, not the planning system,” he pointed out. He also said that planners would work for a system that promotes economic growth but it would never be a market magic bullet. He added by saying that now is not the time for more uncertainty with a bill before Parliament. uwww.bis.gov.uk/news/speeches/vincecable-mansion-house-speech-2011 uwww.rtpi.org.uk/item/4443/23/5/3


March 2011 |

planning

Regulators urge guidance retention… Environmental Protection UK has told the Government it must retain sufficient planning guidance to enable regulators and developers to deal with pollution through the planning process. It warns that over-contraction of guidance which is threatened when the Government replaces all existing English guidance with a single national framework risks further infractions of EU law and could impose a high social, environmental and economic cost for everyone. It says the planning system must protect the natural environment, reduce carbon emissions, mitigate climate change and promote healthy local environments. It has concerns about the practicalities of ensuring a balanced approach to development when power is handed to communities and says prevention is better than cure. “There may also be cost penalties on businesses tasked with mitigating the impacts of inappropriate or unsafe development down the line,” it says. “For example, if land contamination is not effectively dealt with prior to development, a worst case scenario is the potential necessity of knocking down a development

to remediate the land to make it safe for site users, clearly undesirable and costly.” EPUK says appropriate, comprehensive guidance ensures all parties understand their requirements and promotes good practice. “We do not believe there is a need to devote scant resources to producing new guidance when a body of guidance that works is in place,” it says. EPUK has also resubmitted its recent comments setting out the elements of PPS23 on planning control it believes must be retained. On land contamination, it says guidance must define the relation between Part 2A and planning, especially regarding remediation statements and emphasise developers’ role in safe delivery. Links to guidance must be retained as must the recommendation for pre-application discussions, the requirement to make remediation sustainable and advice on the decision making process. It says some clauses of PPS23 could be deleted: 2.35-2.41 (plus Tables 2.1 and 2.2), 2.43-2.44, 2.49, 2.50 and 2.53. uwww.environmental-protection. org.uk//assets/library/documents/ A_National_Planning_Policy_Framework__EPUK_Suggestions_-__Feb_2011.pdf

…while planners want broad framework The Royal Town Planning Institute has urged the Government to structure its national planning policy framework around the key issues or themes it intends planning should deliver, such as sustainable economic growth and community development, rather than the narrow topic-based approach of traditional PPS/PPGs. Its response to the consultation on the framework marks a positive response to the idea and follows a general assembly and workshops and the Institute says it is keen to work with the Government to develop the framework. But although it welcomes the move to integrate economic, environmental and social priorities, it warns that social priorities are an integral part of this and must be included. The Institute’s response offers no clues as to what individual policies, such as brownfield-first, the framework should include. Instead, it offers an analysis of Government policy and suggests the framework should aim to tackle overriding challenges, opportunities and priorities in

an integrated way, such as the relationship between transport investment and sustainable economic growth and housing development and social cohesion. “Such an approach is preferable to the traditional approach epitomised by existing PPSs which take a narrow topic-based approach without necessarily relating these topics to the key issues that the Government wishes to address or to the cross-policy area approach that is needed to tackle them,” it says. Less welcome to the Government may be the suggestion that the framework should address economic disparities between different parts of the country and that national policy will have different impacts in different regions. It says the framework offers an opportunity to bring together the multiplicity of designations to generate more informed policy decisions, but says no attempt should be made to redefine “sustainable development”, and should avoid national targets. uhttp://tiny.cc/joyd8

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PLANNING

Senior planners accept brownfield target loss The Planning Officers’ Society has recommended the Government include the broad principle of brownfield-first for housing development in its forthcoming national planning policy framework, but not the detailed requirements or the 60% brownfield target. The Society’s response to the DCLG consultation on principles for the framework accepts the Government’s desire for brevity and recommends ways in which it could achieve this. By way of example, it sets out the areas of PPS3 on housing which might be retained, though not necessarily in the format or level of detail in which they are currently covered. It urges retention of paragraphs 10, 11, 21-24, 32-35 and 36-39. This would mean retaining the principle that “the priority for development should be previously developed land, in particular vacant and derelict sites and buildings” but also support for growth areas, growth points, new settlements, urban extensions and settlement growth – all of which have underpinned greenfield sprawl. Out would go the statement that reuse of land is a key objective and out would go the 60% national brownfield target and regional targets, already doomed with regional strategies. uwww.planningofficers.org.uk/downloads/ pdf/nat-plan-pol-fram-response-240211.pdf

Civic bodies support brownfield first Civic Voice – the umbrella body for English civic organisations – has told the Government its national planning policy framework must retain policies on town centre and brownfield first, a sequential approach to new housing, density standards and protection of historic environment and countryside. The body is strongly supportive of the move to localism and community involvement but says a clear and effective national framework is fundamental to planning’s effectiveness. It says it should focus on outcomes, including location of housing, economic and other development. These include town centrefirst policy for retail, leisure, offices, culture, public administration and other uses including retention of the sequential and impact tests, making best use of previously developed land. It also urges retention of policies on the historic environment, design, conservation, local character, green space, local designations, sustainable development and climate change. uhttp://tiny.cc/7fh2j


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mipim

Is the glass half empty, or is it half full? MIPIM, the annual property show in Cannes, is a weather-vane of the industry. Ian Grant reports on the prevailing trends. Heavily represented by British investors, developers, consultants, and less local authorities this year, delegates discussed the state of the market and make predictions for the future. Seven per cent more delegates turned up this year, and 6% more investors which tells a tale. But the UK presence, so often facilitated within the RDA umbrellas was far thinner on the ground. Liverpool City Council, for example, explained that it couldn’t afford £150,000, while Scottish Enterprise said due to the cuts MIPIM was lower in priority this year. Many cities had brochures at the Place UK stand instead of a fully fledged presence. It was very much a case of either glass half empty or half full this year. Jonathan Guthrie from Edinburgh City Council, the only Scottish council putting its head visibly above the parapet, said the clouds have cleared and we are waiting for the sun to come out. That would be disputed by some towns and cities in the UK. Some cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds are coming up with innovative financing mechanisms and approaches which offer routes to the future. London was positively booming with the charismatic presence of Mayor Boris Johnson holding court in various functions, and key developments on show in the form of The Olympic Park, Royal Docks, Earls Court, Nine Elms to name but four. The worry for some is that with London so positive and active, how would other regions and cities in the UK fare? Jackie Sadek of UK Regeneration pointed out that investment is needed in the rest of the UK, which is also critical for the capital. Uncertainties created by localism cast their shadow, along with the spectre of stalled regeneration schemes started between 2005-8. The private sector is now the dominant partner. The local authorities are reevaluating their roles from referees to more facilitators. One of the important features of MIPIM is that the majority of property consultancies and bodies release reports and commentaries which give a concentrated view of what’s happening and are about to happen.

Mayor Boris Johnson delivers his key note address to MIPIM delegates. Photo: John Sturrock Peter Damesick, EMEA chief economist, CBRE, commented: “Whilst the majority of demand is focusing on core assets in 2011, we expect an increasing number of investors will start turning to more secondary assets in the second half of the year and into 2012 as a result of the intense competition for core assets. However, while some investors are starting to look for opportunities higher up the risk curve, the shortage of debt finance for investment in secondary property remains a significant constraint on activity in this part of the market. There may need to be some further re-pricing before value-add and opportunistic investors become active in a big way.” While Barry Osilaja, director of structured debt at Jones Lang LaSalle said: “The big questions are still going to be where debt capital is going to come from, whether funding sources like CMBS are going to come back, and more importantly when are banks going to start selling those property assets,” One theme as a counterbalance to positive outlooks and putting a brake on investment is regulatory uncertainty. The global banking industry’s Basel III rules, the insurance sector’s Solvency II both bring in stricter capital requirements and the EU’s

Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Directive will be implemented from January, 2013 and will force reporting and capital rules. The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) will become effective by the end of 2012 will increase transparency of interest rate swaps. In terms of property hotspots Standard Life Investments says UK is a good bet for returns over cash over a three year period. While Savills found that the top investment market was the UK – with 42% of the total European investment volume in 2010. JLL said that cross border investment is on the rise - more than 40% over last year at £130bn. CBRE said that institutional investors have allocated more than £8.7bn for UK residential development. Meanwhile, another CBRE survey said that lenders remain cautious about UK commercial property, following a survey of 100 banks. Sixty nine banks are open to new business, and most are employing conservative lending criteria. Since the downturn 38 lenders with UK exposure are closed to new lending – 70% of which were European banks, building societies and investment banks.


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In terms of commercial property strong demand is improving performance – with retail and London markets strong. But the regional UK office market is continuing to re-correct. Gensler and the Urban Land Institute found that 95% of respondents would be willing to pay up to 3% more for property with easy access to open quality space. This equates to £1.3bn investment to create develop and maintain new public space. London has a projected deficit of 1100ha by 2031. British Property Federation’s Liz Peace pointed out the threat of greater regulation from Europe. She said commercial property is now seen more as an integral part of capital markets, which Brussels sees as part of the widespread investment community. Peace’s point was that property requires asset management – more than just sticking money in a fund. In terms of fiscal policy, the BPF is pushing a new tax efficient structure to attract institutional and private investors akin to REITs. Peace said that the build to purchase and buy to let models are not delivering enough homes. The private rented stock accounts for 15% of housing in England. She added that government reforms are the key to unlocking regeneration and councils should be given new funding tools or the greater localisation of business rates. She said that communities should be given the right incentives to accept development within a planning system that has sustainable growth at its heart, if ministers are serious about creating a private sector lead recovery. Vacant property is affecting 60% of property owners in UK, France and US according a January survey of 770 on behalf of VPS, which rebranded itself at MIPIM, as an international property security provider. In terms of other initiatives, Resolution Property is launching a £1bn investment programme to unlock added value investment opportunities which have stalled due to bank finance, in the UK and Europe. It will provide equity to provide the debt funding gap working as joint venture partners or development managers. It is particularly looking at town centres with good demographics with the potential to add value in shopping centres and leisure. It is also targeting residential and office projects in the South East. One spokesman said a typical UK project requires £10m-75m equity to kick start development. And he said that it can fund schemes until they become financeable or produce 100% equity finance.

Making regeneration happen in the UK Ian Grant listens to the leaders of three cities on their visions for the future at a MIPIM session on regeneration. It has been a rollercoaster for regeneration in the UK over the last two years. There were fears the sector might disappear expressed by Jackie Sadek, chair of UK Regneration, who referred to Ed Milliband’s pronouncement that the first thing to be cut if Labour retained power was regeneration. However, there was a reprieve in January with a Government statement on regeneration and a commitment to increase spending on regional growth. Then the announcement of 10 Enterprise Zones in the Budget for Growth, which include tax breaks and incentives for investment. Then there was the announcement of Local Enterprise Partnerships. So where are we now?

Howard Bernstein, chief executive, Manchester City Council

Howard Bernstein, the CE of Manchester City Council stressed that regeneration should make places economically competitive for jobs and investment, with residents able to access the benefits of the wealth it brings. He said a fiscal rebalancing act has to occur, and that the impact of the spending programmes in the CSR is a very challenging process. How do local authorities create incentives to prioritise growth, foster labour market productivity and not resource up for high demand services? How do they tackle a lack of work, skills, and independence issues? Mr Bernstein said that some people welcome the changes in regional architecture, with the loss of the RDAs – but asked what do we mean by localism and national delivery models? All the evidence means it will mean a greater centralising of economic development. There’s an ever-changing macro-

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economic situation with emerging markets racing ahead and people in the UK should start to look at them as customers as never before. What is the change in the role and functions of local government with localism? Mr Berntsein said that Manchester is prioritising, reducing dependency and asking how we promote independence. And it is developing common assessment frameworks to enable prioritised delivery. He said that it is looking at new investment models. “Gap finance is a thing of the past for the next few years, at least. We should leverage debt and equity schemes from the private sector to get viable schemes across the line.” Manchester is starting to ignore local government boundaries. “We need a single economic strategy – a single productive labour market to drive competitiveness. We have set up our Local Enterprise Partnership working with business leaders.” “The government has to prioritise places whose success is fundamental to economic prosperity - London, Birmingham, Manchester and other big cities which will make a real difference promoting jobs and investment and move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach to local government. We need to allow our business lead structures at City Region – influence skills housing and business support. Mr Bernstein said that national delivery models don’t work. “We need a real spatial focus on policies and programmes related to circumstances of those areas. We need to train people for jobs that are actually being created. We need support about how we innovate. We need business rate relocalisation and tax incremental financing and recyclable investment. And to create a national common assessment criteria how we assess different schemes and programmes which will create the biggest economic gains – and secure funding. Mr Bernstein concluded that Enterprise Zones in the 70s and 80s did little except displace jobs. Now, he said they need to provide added value – new growth initiatives – to new business activities locally reapplied to local areas.

Neil McLean, partner, DLA Piper and chair of Leeds Enterprise Partnership Neil McLean said that while the Government announced LEPs, they didn’t say what powers they have or whether there will be any direct funding. The lack of framework, he said, is helpful, as it gives us an open agenda. But he also stressed the


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difficulties in that approach. Last week there was an Emergency LEP Summit attended by David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Eric Pickles and a supporting cast. Mr McLean said there was a lot of warm support but not much detail. He thinks that we shouldn’t worry about structures but we need to look at the outputs communities need. In Leeds the City Region LEP is made up of 11 local authorities covering the three major parties. The LEP board has eight local authority representatives and eight from the private sector. The concept of the LEP is that it leads to the reconstruction of the regional economy. Regeneration is important but the economic part is immense. Mr McLean attended the MIPIM session with the world’s mayors, which he said highlight the problems around world are the same, with infrastructure being key. “You can’t deal with it in an isolated sense. You need communities and economies to operate. Infrastructure needs to follow the economic aims of the regions. We need to be clear on economic aims. We should inform and focus our view on what infrastructure is needed.” He also referred to an office development site in Leeds with good green space which has stalled. The developer has already put in £15m. The council is funding a renegotiated planning agreement. If the scheme works, the council gets its money back. If not, it has a scheme with enhanced value and a realistic and deliverable planning application. Mr McLean said he is against New Enterprise Zones, historically speaking. “Their previous forms are not right for now. I am with the Center for Cities – a flexible agenda of benefits. I am concerned that the Government decided where EZs are meant to be. It cuts across what they are saying about regionalism. That decision should come from LEPs and Councils, not Government. “The Government is talking about localism in planning. The LEP and Region should be taking decisions across LA boundaries for the benefit of the region. We don’t want those decisions affected by localism at a small scale. If that is the case then development will not take off. There are current conflicts between different parts of Government policy. If we can resolve them with sensible funding levels, and there is co-operation between public and private sector, development can start and will be supported.”

mipim

Councillor Mike Mr Whitby, leader, Birmingham City Council

Councillor Mike Mr Whitby said you can’t ignore regions. He pointed out that in 2005, the UK had the fourth largest economy, now it has the seventh, and in 2015 it is set to be 12th -14th. The lesson, he said, is nation states, which do not have a divine right to succeed. Nor do great urban areas. He said he found out what is ‘relevancy’ to the people of Birmingham and the UK, and asked how could Birmingham rebrand itself? The message to come out was ‘Global city with a local heart’: “Once we had addressed that, the question was: how to regenerate and where prosperity is coming from? It is essential that people in the city are ambassadors for it. It is a global city with international finances. The challenge is competing attracting and performing in the world economy.” Mr Whitby said the local part is the population. We have stopped migration from the city and improved the quality of life. He said that half the world is suffering from liquidity problems, but there are areas with a surfeit of liquidity – and the real skill is to align aspiration, generate a vision and the appeal to attract investors to those areas. Birmingham is having some success in attracting international wealth signing a MOU with Abu Dhabi. The Chinese have decided on Birmingham, Longbridge as its center for engine r&d for Europe. Mr Whitby said he could not ignore the relationship with central Government, particularly as it provides 73% of its funding. Birmingham is set to lose over 2,000 public sector jobs this year and it plans to ensure that for every public sector job lost, there are two private sector jobs to replace it. It aims to do this by aligning the necessary skills with vacancies and growth sectors.

UK cities Birmingham was as bull-ringish as ever and was with 19 private sector partners, effectively charting the route to the future. Cllr Mike Whitby, Birmingham City Council said: “Our 20 year Big City Plan also leads the way by providing a blueprint for the development of the city — allowing potential investors to see how Birmingham will develop both physically and as a leading sustainable destination.” He announced the proposed £500m redevelopment of the city’s Paradise Circus area is very much on track thanks to the ‘Immunity from Listing’ certificate, granted for the 1960s built library. A major mixed use regeneration project on the Paradise Circus site can now push ahead, with Argent, unlocking £500m worth of investment and which could create over 10,000 jobs. Birmingham Science Park Aston unveiled the £35m Digital Plaza a set of four buildings, giving 10,000sq m and the council who own it, is seeking a joint venture partner. Work could start by 2012. Plans to improve the city’s transport network, the runway extension at Birmingham airport and HS2 also featured large. Whitby also stressed Birmingham’s £100m commitment to the largest public housing retrofit project in the UK and a pledge to reduce the city’s overall carbon emissions by 60% in 2026. On the Leeds stand, Hammerson was showing its £600m retail and leisure regeneration of the Eastgate Quarters. Neil Mclean, chairman of a new City region LEP said that Leeds has a £51bn economy larger than nine European counties. In these days of fighting for international capital, UK regions have to bulk up to fight the megacities of London, Washington, Paris and New York, where capital naturally gravitates. At Coventry, Barberry is developing the 18,000sq m former Royal Mail sorting centre retail scheme called Bishop Gate - as a result of a MIPIM meeting last year. Edinburgh City Council announced that Virgin Money, Tesco Bank and BlackRock will expand their operations in the city. Nottingham was showing Waterside Point, a 250,000 sq ft development with planning which includes office space, bars and shops. There were rumours that it had received funding from China and the Far East.

Manchester Manchester City Council is putting a £300m Evergreen investment fund together


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for April, which it says could act as a model for investment for the rest of the UK regeneration sector. Working with CBRE, it came about through a successful bid for £30m of public sector money which unlocked private funds including banks and pension funds to take it to £300m. Howard Bernstein explained that the traditional LA gap finance investment is that you put it in – you get the output but never see it again. Now, he said, it is recyclable public investment. We put it in, get it back and recycle it for other projects. Companies have been urged to gear up now to bid for cash when the Regional Growth Fund opens its purse for a second time next month. One of the major announcements was that the Co-operative Group is looking for a partner to help it complete the development of the 20-acre site around its new headquarters in Manchester which includes a new public square, offices, retail and a boutique hotel. Other developments on show included Spinningfields and a science park which Siemens are set to be involved in and a new Urban Quarter that is being planned around First Street including a new library, theatre, offices and retail.

London London had a buzz about it with the Olympics taking centre stage, but ably supported by Royal Docks, Nine Elms, Earls Court, and King’s Cross neighbourhoods. Three events in the next 18 months will concentrate minds on the capital wonderfully: the Royal Wedding; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Games. Boris Johnson’s speech referred to a recent CitiGroup study of international cities, which concluded that London is the world leader in terms of GDP growth potential through to 2025. Johnson said that the redevelopment of the London borough of Newham in east London was the next focus, after the Olympic Park. “We’re open to JVs of all kinds. Forty five specific development proposals have been put forward so far,” he said. The mayor also invited developers to bid to build an 800-home, seven-acre community next to the athletes’ village on the Olympics site after next year’s Games, and he confirmed that the Olympic media centre would go out to market next month. Baroness Ford said the developer had to combine the best traditions of London’s architecture and design whilst creating a

family environment. Mayor Johnson mentioned new and revamped public spaces emerging as part of the £220m Great Outdoors Programme. These include revitalised parks and squares, 2,012 new community food growing plots as well as 10,000 newly planted street trees across the capital. He also announced more crossings east of Tower Bridge, a bridge at Gallions Reach and an urban cable car. In another positive sign for the London market, developer Capco said that its £6bn8bn redevelopment of Earl’s Court would go ahead on non-local authority land, despite protests from council estate residents preventing them using the housing authority land. In other developments, literally, Westfield showed its 13,000sq ft office development – One Stratford Place. Another was 15 Canada Square, completed by Swanke Hayden Connell. The 40,000sq m office space has a BREEAM Excellent rating due to a CHP system, greywater recyling and green roofs. Lend Lease and London Continental Railways launched the International Quarter in Stratford City – 371,000 sq m of Agrade office space on a 2.2ha site including 350 homes and 1.2ha open space, public building and hotels. Croydon announced new funding for its infrastructure mainly rail and tram. It is aiming for a £4m public – private regeneration which could yield 8000 homes. Develop Croydon, a private sector consortium is promoting the town. At Kings Cross – CEO Roger Madelin seems to be over the financial squeeze which beset him 18 months ago. He said the project is now attracting debt and equity. He said that £3.5bn was spent on infrastructure with the 27ha available land served well by transport, while Bouygues Developments said it is set to submit a planning application for its £600m mixed-use scheme at Canning Town next month for 1,100 mixed-tenure homes and 55,000 m2 of commercial space. It will also submit a detailed application for the 8,200 m2 first phase, which includes a Morrisons supermarket and 177 homes. And the Covent Garden Market Authority began its final public consultation on plans for the £1bn regeneration of 20 acre New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms.

Mayor’s Think Tank The Mayor’s Think Tank meeting: Urban Strategies and Integrated Solutions Implementation is growing with nearly 100 participants. Moderator and chair Greg Clark said the

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leaders were clear about what they had to do, the question was how. Cities are growing ever larger, with experts predicting that 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050. Currently, there are more than 400 cities with a population over a million, 19 of which have over 10m inhabitants, putting great strains on infrastructure and the environment, and presenting a major challenge to city planners and developers. The other two main themes key themes were the start of a new economic cycle and climate change. Most mayors were agreed that quality of life for citizens was the most important, but long term strategies may conflict with short term needs. Infrastructure was a critical theme, be it transport, energy or social. And with oil prices rising, transport efficiencies, including public transport is key. In terms of sustainability, the mayors’ saw technology underpinning smart city management. They wanted more benchmarking, collaborative learning and best practice exchange. Funding scares have meant that a lot are re-writing strategies. There were some innovative approaches, including Sao Paolo putting building licences up for auction to pay for infrastructure. Greg Clark reported in MIPIM News that as cities enter the post economic downturn cycle, public authorities are looking again at their working relationships with their private sector. “There have been incidents where masterplans have not been fulfilled or private financing has failed. I think that the mood amongst the mayors is that they are going into the next phase of the public/ private relationship somewhat wiser.” As if to emphasise all this in not just a talking shop, Fouad Bendimerad, president of the seismic and megacities initiative in the Philippines said eight to 10 major cities around the world are under continuous threat of earthquake. And it could take considerable time before expertise in building and planning resilient cities is developed, he noted. He said that increased urbanisation also concentrates risks as many big cities are in earthquake and flood zones. And climate change is likely to intensify these risks On the Friday, news broke of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. uwww.mipim.com See p19 for more information on BB’s Redevelopment & Brownfield Finance conference, to be held on 6 April, London.


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N O R T H E R N

IRELAND

Northside Urban Village Northern Ireland’s Department for Social Development has announced commissions for comprehensive regeneration at the Carrick Hill/North Street/Peter’s Hill/Millfield site and to design and prepare a planning application for a new public square and streetscape at the Little Donegall Street and Library Street junction on the north side of Belfast city centre. There will also be a promotional campaign for developers to declare an interest in regeneration opportunities for vacant sites in the area. “The promotional campaign and design schemes are my Department’s initial steps towards attracting private investment into a part of the city centre that has been neglected and was badly hit during the troubles,” said social development minister Alex Atwood. “The area holds the potential to benefit from the sort of investment we have seen in the Cathedral Quarter, Royal Exchange and the York Street campus of the University of Ulster.” uwww.northernireland.gov. uk/index/media-centre/ news-departments/news-dsd/ news-dsd-220211-attwoodlaunches-initiatives.htm

regions

planning permission is a significant step forward in the development of the Bay Science and Innovation Campus for Swansea University,” said St Modwen chief executive officer Bill Oliver. uwww.stmodwen.co.uk/news_ and_media/show_article/4033

N O R T H

EAST

Vaux site purchase Sunderland City Council now owns the former Vaux brewery site following its purchase from Tesco which last year was given planning permission for a separate site in Roker. Tesco bought the site in 2001 for a new store but the Council, One North East and the Homes & Communities Agency agreed to buy it from the supermarket giant for a business park. Now the Council wants to get on with site clearance and remediation and is looking at temporary uses for the 10.5ha site pending redevelopment. “Now that the city owns the Vaux site we can look forward to its redevelopment as a businesshub,” said Council leader Paul Watson. “While construction will not happen overnight and could be some time away, this is a significant step forward. The first thing for us is to get on-site and begin its remediation.” uwww.sunderland.gov.uk/index. aspx?articleid=5053

W A L E S

N O R T H

Swansea University

City of Manchester

Swansea City Council has approved St Modwen Properties’ Bay Science and Innovation Campus for Swansea University on a former BP storage site on the outskirts of the city. St Modwen will now work with the University, the Welsh Assembly Government, BP and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment to develop detailed plans for the project. The first phase is likely to comprise 30,000m² of academic accommodation, 2,800 student residential units and associated retail space. “The granting of outline

Manchester City Council, Manchester City FC and New East Manchester have agreed a legally binding joint venture partnership to develop land around the City of Manchester stadium. Previously the work had operated under a memorandum of understanding signed 12 months ago and a regeneration

WEST

framework covering 80ha of land owned by the parties was agreed. The first target will be land owned by the Football Club on the Openshaw West site which will be the subject of exploratory remediation to make it useable for further development of football facilities. Community consultations on local facilities will now begin. “This framework along with the partnership will drive progress over the next decade and will not just secure the economic success of the area, but also be a truly groundbreaking relationship setting the benchmark in the world of regeneration,” said Council leader Sir Richard Leese. uwww.east-manchester. com/press-releases/207/ nem-manchester-city-council-andmcfc-solidify-partnership/index. htm

South Liverpool Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, the Homes & Communities Agency and the North West Development Agency have agreed a Strategic Regeneration Framework for the South Liverpool International Gateway. It incorporates the area along the A561 from the Mersey Wave to Garston Docks and including Speke, Garston, Garston under Bridge and Hunts Cross and the partners see this as the main focus for economic and residential development in south Liverpool. The framework looks at the existing economy including the airport and future business and development potential. “South Liverpool International Gateway will play a pivotal role in the sustainable economic development of the Liverpool City Region as one of the UK’s primary international gateways and a thriving international city,” said Liverpool Vision senior development manager Andrew Wallace.

uwww.estuarycommercepark. com/News/ South_Liverpool_Strategic_ Regeneration_Framework_Update. aspx W E S T M I D L A N D S

New Street new store

John Lewis has confirmed it will occupy a new store to be built by Network Rail alongside the new Birmingham New Street redevelopment on a site on the south side of the station. Confirmation that the retailer would make The Pallasades the location for its new city centre store was welcomed by the partners in the station redevelopment. “Network Rail is helping to rebuild Birmingham by transforming New Street,” said its chief executive David Higgins. “The project is about much more than simply redeveloping the station. Today’s deal is a further sign that our plans are critical to the long term success of the city and will create new jobs and help stimulate economic growth. These exciting changes are happening as a direct result of the investment being made to improve Birmingham’s transport infrastructure.” Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said it would enhance the city’s reputation as a place to do business. uwww.newstreetnewstart. co.uk/construction-progress/ press-releases/2011/february/ jobs-boost-for-birmingham-asjohn-lewis-comes-to-new-street. aspx S O U T H W E S T

Forest of Dean The Homes & Communities Agency has made £2m available to Forest of Dean


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District Council to enable it to acquire the Ensors’ abattoir site in Cinderford’s Valley Road to enable 100 homes to move there and the company to move to better premises on the Forest Vale Industrial Estate. It is also making £2.5m available to Gloucestershire College to further its estates strategy involving investment in its Coleford campus, creating a facility in the north of Cinderford or building elsewhere in the Forest. “We are very grateful for the financial support provided by the HCA, which means we’re able to unlock the Valley Road site for much needed housing, including affordable homes,” said Council cabinet member for regeneration and planning Patrick Molyneux. “The Council will continue to work hard with all its

partners on the Cinderford Regeneration Board to bring about the long-awaited regeneration.” uwww.homesandcommunities. co.uk/Cinderford’s-£4.5mregeneration-funding?p=0&f=0

Swindon’s Union Square Muse Developments has unveiled plans for mixed use development of a site between Swindon’s railway station and The Parade shopping area called Union Square. The plans envisage homes, employment space and a new bus station. uwww.forwardswindon.co.uk/ news/84/public+exhibition++new+union+square+plans.aspx S O U T H E A S T

Aldershot Defence Estates has appointed Grainger as developer for around 4,500 homes on surplus

military land at Aldershot. The 148ha site includes the historic Cambridge military hospital building which will be restored and converted, but it also includes training land and the development is ominously named “the Aldershot urban extension”. “Creating new homes and community facilities on surplus MoD land at Aldershot Garrison will provide a welcome boost in housing for local people, whilst making good use of brownfield land,” said DE deputy head of land management services Wendy Ivess-Mash. Grainger describes the urban extension as one of the largest brownfield sites in South East England. uwww.graingerplc.co.uk/article. asp?nid=2580

Roussillon Barracks Chichester District Council

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has given planning permission to Zero C’s 252-home redevelopment of the former Roussillon Barracks site. The Homes & Communities Agency sold the site to Zero C in 2009; approval in principle was granted in November and the permission is being issued following a Section 106 agreement. “We have worked closely with Zero C to develop a redundant military site in the heart of Chichester that respects the history of the town and the Barracks,” said HCA area head Ken Glendinning. “However it also looks to the future, transforming a brownfield site into a new development of the highest environmental quality and standards.” Demolition and preparatory works are starting this month


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and construction is expected to begin in June. uwww.homesandcommunities. co.uk/Roussillon-Barracksdevelopment?p=0&f=0

G R E AT E R

LONDON

Woolwich Arsenal The London Development Agency has sold its remaining land on the Royal Arsenal site in Woolwich to its development partner Berkeley Homes. The land includes the Royal Arsenal and Warren sites and is part of the wider arrangement to facilitate a Crossrail station on the site which Berkeley hope to construct as the final phase of its development. Since 2000, redevelopment has seen remediation of the 31.7ha site and construction of 1,600 homes, business space, heritage and leisure facilities. Up to 5,000 homes are planned eventually. “The transformation of the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich from a derelict industrial site into a vibrant, award winning community has been one of the lasting achievements of the Agency,” said LDA deputy chief executive Peter Bishop. “This sale ends our involvement and passes responsibility for the final phase of work onto Berkeley Homes, who have been our partners throughout the past decade.” uwww.lda.gov.uk/ news-and-events/ media-centre/press-releases/2011/ lda-sells-woolwich-arsenal-toberkeley-homes.aspx

East Croydon Stanhope and Schroders have submitted a revised planning application for the 3.4ha Ruskin Square development in Croydon following Croydon Borough Council’s revised master plan for East Croydon station. Network Rail has secured funding for station improvements including a bridge into the new development. The development will include five office buildings and around 500 flats.

regions | international

“Perception is important - and the perception today is that things are really beginning to move again in Croydon,” said Council leader Mike Fisher. “Several major public and private sector projects are already under way, more are in the pipeline and investors are increasingly confident that the council is creating the right conditions for the town to take off.” uwww.croydon.gov. uk/democracy/ councilnews/1044942 www.stanhopeplc.com/ ?page=21&id=443

uwww.lda.gov.uk/ news-and-events/ media-centre/press-releases/2011/ hotel-and-restaurant-to-createnew-jobs-at-chequers-corner.aspx

Hammers secure stadium win

Locating homes in places where their residents don’t have to use cars to get about is more effective at reducing their energy usage than “green” building techniques, new research from America has demonstrated. The work, by Jonathan Rose Companies for the US Environmental Protection Agency looked at the energy usage of a range of development types. It compared cardependent locations with location-efficient, transitoriented locations, multi-family housing with single family detached and attached houses and conventional cars and homes with less energy wasteful alternatives – “energy star” homes and hybrid cars. It found the most effective way to reduce energy consumption was to replace some of the family’s car usage with transit use – effecting 3950% reductions in household energy use. Buildings and transportation together use around 70% of America’s energy use and 62% of its greenhouse emissions. Overall, an energy-efficient, multi-family home using fuel efficient vehicles in a transitoriented site uses 67m BTUs (British Thermal Units – still used in America) compared to 240m BTUs by a singlefamily, detached home lacking energy-efficient features in a car-dependent place. This

The Government and mayor of London have approved the Olympic Park Legacy Company recommendation to make West Ham United and Newham Borough Council the preferred bidder for the Olympic stadium. They said the decision was based on value for money, continuing community use for sport, ability to run the stadium, swift reopening and its maintenance as a symbol of local regeneration. Detailed negotiations will now take place. uwww.communities.gov. uk/statements/corporate/ olympicstadiumlegacy

Chequers Corner The London Development Agency has exchanged contracts with Premier Inn for a site at Chequers Corner in Dagenham where a hotel and restaurant are planned. The site was formerly occupied by a shopping parade that has now been cleared. “Chequers Corner is a prominent site close to the A13 in Dagenham and Premier Inn’s investment will bring new jobs and visitors to this part of east London,” said LDA chief executive Peter Bishop. “With the eyes of the world on London in the run-up to 2012, their commitment is part of the growing confidence in the lasting regeneration of the area.”

I N T E R N AT I O N A L

Smart location more energy efficient than green building

shows, however, that the biggest gains are to be made by locating development in compact, public transport served communities, just the opposite of the lowdensity, greenfield sprawl approach which has been the UK and US default mode for most of the last century, underpinned by car usage. The study makes clear that the biggest savings are made when all the energy efficiency savings are combined, but the location efficiency findings may surprise governments that have pursued green building most assiduously. “We cannot fix our energy use and global warming emissions problems by looking only at building and vehicle technology; we also have to look at land use and transit,” said Natural Resources Defense Council director of sustainable communities and smart growth, Kaid Benfield. uwww.epa.gov/smartgrowth/ location_efficiency_BTU.htm

World land degradation monitor launched

Nearly a quarter of the world’s land surface was subject to desertification, land degradation or drought between 1981 and 2003, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification has revealed, and it believes this is costing the world about $42bn every year. The Convention has launched a monitoring and reporting system, PRAIS, to improve capacity and data collection. It aims to produce a baseline against which progress can be monitored. The UNCCD says around a third of the world’s population is now suffering from either desertification, land


March 2011 |

international | legal

degradation or drought in 110 countries and 90% of them are in low-income areas. It says the pathways out of poverty often depend on the lost land, water and forest resources. The PRAIS portal is designed to offer instant access to baseline information on implementation of the Convention. From 2012 it will be complemented by data on the impact made by the convention. “It is significant because it invalidates the assumption that achieving intergovernmental consensus on how to measure compliance is impossible,” said UNCCD executive secretary Luc Gnacadja. “It is significant because measuring complex and locally driven phenomena in order to determine global trends is a challenge in itself. But you cannot improve what you cannot measure. PRAIS moves us into the realm of measurability by providing the basis on which we can assess progress and also define the targets we want to reach in combating desertification, land degradation and in mitigating the effects of drought.” uwww.unccd-prais.com LEGAL

£5,000 fine for Aylesbury trench death Aylesbury Crown Court has fined a building firm with just £5,000 in costs after a worker died in a collapsed trench which had been cut deeper than the original plan and where the company had no safe system of work on site. Contractor Russell Smith Ltd of Pitstone admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc. at Work Act 1974 in connection with the death of 22-year old Josh Bladon from Leighton Buzzard. He died in a trench excavated by a minidigger at two different depths – 1.2m and 2m, in contrast to the originally planned 1.2m – for foundations for a house extension in Aylesbury. Mr Bladon was working in the deep part of the trench when the driver noticed he had disappeared. He tried to dig him

out with the help of neighbours but he was pronounced dead of asphyxiation at the scene. The Health & Safety Executive found the company had taken no account of the risks in increasing the trench depth and took no action to put the right safety measures in place. There was no safe system of work on site. “Trench collapses are a wellknown cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry,” said HSE inspector Gavin Bull. “This incident could easily have been avoided had the correct planning taken place. This is a shocking case that has had a profound effect on the family of Mr Bladon. Companies need to recognise the dangers of excavations and ensure safe systems are in order prior to starting work.” The £5,000 fine is, however, in stark contrast to the £385,000 fine imposed on a consultant last month after an employee died in a collapsed, unsupported trench greater than 1.2m deep. That fine, however, was for corporate manslaughter which requires that a substantial part of the breach must have been the way the activities were organised by senior management. uwww.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/ coi-se-2802.htm

Three waste on land offences at Worksop Worksop Magistrates have had a busy time hearing waste cases and have convicted three companies, two of them for illegal deposit of demolition waste on land. In a serious land contamination incident, the court fined Anthony Bealby of Nidd Lane, Birstwith, £6,500 with £3,500 costs for burying 2.3t of asbestos on his land at Grange Farm, Lindrick Road in Woodsetts. The Environment Agency pursued complaints that roofing had been removed from a barn and buried. Investigations showed asbestos had been buried. Bealby admitted financial motives for instructing two individuals to bury the waste

and later he sold the land. The asbestos has finally been removed and disposed of appropriately this month. “By avoiding waste management legislation he saved over £1,300 in disposal costs,” said the Agency. Two other cases saw the court impose larger fines. Libra Demolition received fines totalling £13,500 for illegal deposit of demolition waste including asbestos at a site in Leverton Road, Worksop. It was the main contractor for demolishing the former Vesuvius Foundry in Retford and Agency surveillance of the Worksop site found large amounts of waste, including fragmented asbestos, being dumped on the site which has no permit. No written descriptions of transfer or disposal were obtained. The company was fined £13,500 for the Agency charges with £10,000 costs and site owner Frederick Newbury £1,500 for knowingly keeping

brownfieldbriefing | 15

the waste on his land. Libra told the court it had relied on another party and were making a substantial loss. “This was a complex and difficult investigation which took us across much of the UK but we were finally able to demonstrate that the responsibility for this crime lay at the door of Libra Demolition and Frederick Newbury,” said Agency environmental crime team leader Peter Rutherford. The third case saw Nottinghamshire Recycling fined £10,000 with £5,000 costs for storing wastes outside the permitted area of its waste transfer station in Worksop on land not suitably engineered to deal with it. uwww.environment-agency.gov. uk/news/127466.aspx?lang=_e uwww.environment-agency.gov. uk/news/127442.aspx?lang=_e uwww.environment-agency.gov. uk/news/127446.aspx?lang=_e

Jail for tyre dumper Mold Crown Court has

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16| brownfieldbriefing | March 2011

sentenced Mark Watts of Burtonwood to 12 months imprisonment for illegally dumping and storing tyres on rented land at Abercynllaith and Broad Oak Business Park, Whitchurch. Watts operated a company called Storm Recycling from 2008 which removed and disposed of scrap tyres from businesses across Shropshire and north Wales. He deposited and kept tyres at the two unpermitted locations in 2008 and 2009 and ignored Environment Agency and land agency warnings to stop. He was served with two notices under Section 59 of the Environmental Protection Act but neither was properly complied with, leaving thousands of tyres to be removed at the land owner’s expense. “The Environment Agency will not hesitate to take the appropriate actions against offenders who operate large scale waste facilities without the proper registered permits,” said Helen Cripps, an Agency officer involved in the investigation. “Had these tyres been set alight, perhaps through vandalism or by accident, the fire would have been very difficult to put out and would have produced a vast range of substances, many of which could harm the environment or human health.” In mitigation Watts’ counsel said he was very remorseful and had been affected by family illness and problematic financial circumstances. But the judge said he had acted deliberately and been motivated by financial gain. uwww.environment-agency. gov.uk/news/127397. aspx?page=3&lang=_e

Fined for ignoring asbestos Leicester Magistrates have fined Shay James, a director of Redditch-based Amencon which has since ceased trading, £5,000 for failing to manage the spread of asbestos at a

demolition site in Leicester. The company was employed by Bovis Homes to carry out an asbestos survey of a factory unit in Humberstone Lane where housing was planned. James carried out the survey in 2008 with an employee but failed to identify 1,252m² of asbestos insulation board and lagging. As a result the building was demolished without proper asbestos management in place, although the demolition company identified asbestos during the work and stopped work. Shay, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 36(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. “Although Mr James is a trained asbestos surveyor, a very poor survey was carried out which missed large quantities of AIB and lagging,” said Health & Safety Executive inspector Stephen Farthing. “This resulted from his failure to ensure they had adequate lighting or access equipment to conduct the survey. As a consequence, a building was demolished that contained asbestos and contractors were put at risk from exposure which is completely unacceptable.” uwww.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/ coi-em-16311.htm

Harsh regime Stafford Magistrates have fined Stuart Holford, formerly of Holford Contracts, £18,000 plus £14,000 costs for burying hundreds of tonnes of waste at a farm. The company, since liquidated, operated from Grindley House Farm, Stowe by Chartley, and in 2007 was paid to dispose 364t of food waste. Environment Agency officers subsequently found a burial site following a tip-off, despite the company’s attempts to deter excavation. Wastes found included packaging, tins, bottles, coffee capsules, pallets and shrinkwrapped goods. The company claimed they had arrived

legal | waste

without paperwork and had been buried by an employee without authorisation. Two employees, Graham Robinson and Steven Birch, were fined £1,200 and £600 respectively but the court heard employees had been subject to a harsh regime at the farm and were of limited means. uwww.environment-agency. gov.uk/news/127698. aspx?page=1&lang=_e

Waste fine Magistrates have fined GP Properties of Stourbridge £20,500 for storing and depositing waste on land. Environment Agency officers inspected the site behind Central Garages in Alveley’s Kidderminster Road in 2009 and found piles of waste, full skips and bagged waste and sampling revealed this contained asbestos. The waste was later removed but the asbestos was not transferred to an authorised third party, bringing Gary Abel a £500 fine. Last year the Agency found skips of household waste and construction and demolition waste spread around the site by a third party and it is now trying to find where this waste came from. uwww.environment-agency.gov. uk/news/128273.aspx?lang=_e

W A S T E Digestate used in brownfield reclamation trials The Waste & Resources Action Programme is conducting trials in England and Scotland on the use of anaerobic digestate as an alternative to commercial fertiliser in landscaping and regeneration work. The trials are intended to see if digestate produced during the anaerobic digestion process could be a cost-effective alternative to commercial fertilisers. “We have seen significant improvement in how vegetation establishes itself in brownfield restoration and sport turfs through the use of BSI PAS

100 compost,” said WRAP programme manager, landscape & regeneration Paul Mathers. “I am confident that anaerobic digestate offers similar environmental and economic benefits.” In Yorkshire, Walker Resource Management is working with the Sports Turf Research Institute to examine the effectiveness of digestate as a sports turf fertiliser in two trials – on the STRI grounds and on a golf course. A third trial is looking at 5ha of the 150ha former Stannon china clay pit near Camelford which is deficient in nutrients. The pit is being landscaped by South West Water and monitored by Cornwall County Council, with Waste Water Treatment looking at the digestate alongside water filter sludge and PAS100 quality compost in a trial organised by Nexus Sustainability. Three trials are also underway in Scotland. David Jarvis Associates with Forest Research are looking at digestate in combination with PAS100 compost as a water retention blanket to target root growth in trees and soil nutrient retention using alder trees at the Forestry Commission Newton nursery near Elgin. Meanwhile, on the Heartlands brownfield restoration site at Polkemmet, Earthcare is looking at using digestate to grow energy crops. Five hardwood species will be planted on soils blended with digestate. Finally the Forestry Commission is looking to see if silver birch, grown for biomass production can be established on former industrial sites. Compost and digestate fibre will be cultivated into existing soil and trees planted at the former Dalquhandy opencast site and the Addiewell former oil shale spoil tip. uwww.wrap.org.uk/ media_centre/press_releases/ landmark_trials_may. html


March 2011

waste | people

Think’s “moment of madness” Kettering Magistrates have fined Think Environmental £20,000 and director David Heighton £10,000 for illegally burying waste under a paddock, raising its level by 1.5-2m. The company was permitted to process non-hazardous biodegradable waste on its site at Cranford Road, Burton Latimer, in connection with a planned pyrolysis facility which had not yet been built or permitted. The Evironment Agency saw machinery compacting and levelling material on a nearby paddock and lorries trying to dump rubble there. A notice was served and investigation revealed the top 1m of the paddock was soil and underneath there was at least 2.5m of shredded waste. Samples contained plastic, paper, cardboard, sweetcorn and hair. Staff told investigating

officers they had been told to dig 5m deep holes in the paddock and fill each with waste before covering them with soil from the next hole. Heighton told them the permit allowed this and it was only temporary, but told them to put waste bales and machinery in front of the paddock to stop Environment Agency staff from seeing it. Heighton told the Agency he had the land owner’s permission to store waste on the paddock when there was a machine failure and claimed he was uncertain about the permitted area and by the time he realised he could not store waste there it was already full. He described the decision to cover the waste as “a moment of madness”. “Waste was deliberately buried on the paddock as a result of excessive quantities brought on to the permitted site,” said Agency officer Jane Mossman. “Companies are responsible

for ensuring they comply with their permits, including staying within the boundaries. The operators of this site ignored concerns raised by their staff and put the environment at risk. We will now be working with the company and land owner to remove the waste, clean up the area and carry out environmental monitoring on the land.” uwww.environment-agency. gov.uk/news/127476. aspx?page=2&lang=_e PEOPLE

Richard Froggatt CL:AIRE has appointed property specialist Richard Froggatt to be the new chair of its Board of Trustees. Mr Froggatt has run his own property consultancy businesses and has been a senior board director at major companies like St Modwen and Savills. As managing director of Wilson Bowden in the 1980s he took

| brownfieldbriefing | 17

the area into new areas of business and at St Modwen was instrumental in the formation of the 50:50 joint venture with Salhia Real Estate called Key Property Investments. “Contaminated land has been my lifeblood throughout my career,” he says. “The opportunity to support and hopefully significantly enhance the work of CL:AIRE is a very exciting challenge. I am committed to adding serious value and look forward to working with the first class team on issues about which I have a great passion.” Chief executive Jane Garrett welcomed Mr Froggatt and said his leadership, experience and enthusiasm would be timely additions to the CL:AIRE team. She thanked the outgoing chair Gareth Llewellyn for his contribution over the past three years. “I am delighted Richard has agreed to become the next

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18| brownfieldbriefing | March 2011

chairman of CL:AIRE,” said Mr Llewellyn. “His experience and passion for sustainable remediation will be of immense value to Jane and her team.” uwww.claire.co.uk

Bronwyn Hill DEFRA’s new permanent secretary is Bronwyn Hill, currently director general of major projects and London at the Department for Transport. Ms Hill will take up the post on 28 March following Helen Ghosh’s move to permanent secretary at the Home Office. Environment secretary Caroline Spelman welcomed her appointment. “Bronwyn joins us at a time when we are taking forward a number of high priorities for the Government at home and internationally: to improve the quality of our environment and tackle biodiversity loss, support British farming and food production, and to promote sustainable growth in our economy,” she said. “I very much look forward to working with Bronwyn as DEFRA plays its part in helping deliver a greener, more transparent, progrowth government.” Before joining the DfT Ms Hill was lead regional director for DEFRA at the Government Office for the South West. She began her administrative career at the former Greater London Council. “I am delighted to have been asked to join a Department which puts the environment at the heart of everything it does,” she said. “DEFRA has a vital role to play, both nationally and internationally, in actions to improve the quality of life for everyone in this country and I look forward to leading the Department in that work through the challenges ahead.” uww2.defra.gov.uk/ news/2011/03/03/newpermanent-secretary/ C O M PA N I E S & B O D I E S

Thurrock Thames Gateway Good progress is being made

on winding up the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation and its transfer to Thurrock Borough Council, planning minister Bob Neill told Jackie Doyle-Price in a Commons written answer. He said a first step will be colocation of the two bodies at the Council’s Grays offices and would encourage closer working on regeneration and planning. The Corporation’s projects and planning functions would be transferred before 1 April 2012. uHansard, 9 March, Column 1130W

companies & bodies | tenders

mayor. “Under our watch we have brought forward significant developments that will have a positive and enduring impact for local people and the local economy,” he said. uwww.communities.gov.uk/ statements/corporate/ltgdc uwww.ltgdc.org.uk/news/ news_releases/bob_lane_backs_ return_of_local.aspx

Central Salford URC bids farewell

Riverside powers return to boroughs The London Riverside planning powers of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation will be returned to the three borough councils concerned, the Government has announced, but it will retain its powers in the Lower Lea Valley while London mayor Boris Johnson makes up his mind whether to establish his own development corporation for the area. The move was announced in a Commons statement by planning minister Bob Neill who said the riverside functions will be transferred to Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Newham Borough Councils on 1 April. But Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets Borough Councils will have to wait to see whether they get the Lea Valley powers back. Mr Neill said the move was the first stage of moving the LTGDC powers to local authorities, as announced in October’s public bodies review. “The order reflects the coalition commitment to cutting the costs of quangos and increasing accountability, and also chimes with our approach to the Thames Gateway generally, where we have decentralised strategic oversight to local political leaders,” he said. LTGDC chairman Bob Lane said the time is right to return powers to the boroughs and the

Central Salford URC has been wound up although it has handed over its projects and some of its staff to Salford City Council. As it closed on 22 February, Board chair Felicity Goodey paid tribute to the team and said it had secured millions of pounds worth of funding to safeguard projects for the coming year. That means projects like Chapel Street, Greengate and Irwell River Park can continue without losing momentum. She said she was delighted the Council has been able to keep some of the team together under development director Karen Hirst who has transferred. “The URC has helped us to transform the central part of the City and the future of its people,” said Council leader John Merry. “We are determined to build on the confidence, which has been built up with the private sector, and deliver even more investment in the future.” Since 2005 when it launched its vision for the city, the URC said more than one billion pounds worth of development has been delivered. For every £1 of public money, it secured more than £10 of private investment and claimed to have the largest and

most successful programme of regeneration outside the London 2012 Olympics. uwww.centralsalford.com/index. php?page=content&block=8&sub =&newsid=1243

Savings claimed DCLG says it intends to reduce spending on arm’s length body work by £170m in the period until 2015 by scrapping 17 of them and cutting spending at the nine remaining. It says local government will save a further £60m thanks to the programme. “We are scaling back the quango state, increasing accountability over decision making and in the process saving the taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds,” said communities secretary Eric Pickles. uwww.communities.gov.uk/news/ corporate/1865391 TENDERS

Education capital works Perth and Kinross Council is seeking tenders for works on a phased basis within the Education & Children’s Services capital budget. The initial phase involves works at Abernethy Primary School for earthworks to the existing playing field to form a level base for the erection of a temporary facility, together with associated servicing, the refurbishment and upgrading of the existing school, further earthworks following completion and removal of the temporary facility to form new playing fields including a possible multi-use games area and associated landscaping. Future works may include new build, refurbishment, mechanical and electrical upgrade works. Deadline: 24 March Contact: The Environment Service, Perth and Kinross Council, Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Sundeep Salins, Perth, PH1 5GD Tel: 01738 475845 Email: ljclark@pkc.gov.uk uwww.pkc.gov.uk


March 2011 |

diary | redevelopment & brownfield conference

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DIARY 31 March Contaminated Land Forum: North Easte Thames (CLF:NET) – Current issues in contaminated land risk assessment London, UK uwww.claire.co.uk 7 April The Localism Bill: Working with the Localism Agenda – Implication for Housing and Planning Professionals London, UK uwww.lsbu.ac.uk/enterprise 11 May Land Quality update London, UK uwww.environmental-protection. org.uk/events/details/ ?id=2734 13 April Preventing catastrophic evens in construction – an industry challenge

brownfieldbriefing | 19

London, UK uwww.ciria.org/SERVICE/ Search2/Core/Events/ eventdetails.aspx?iKey=E11701

London, UK uwww.rtpi.org.uk/ct/ EVENT/1327/11/events/1327

24-26 May Brownfield Expo 2011 Birmingham, UK uwww.sustainabilitylive.com/ bbeb

25 May Hydrock Development and Regeneration seminar Exeter, UK uwww.hydrock.com/latest-news. html

4 May Miscellany of Planning Law Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK uwww.rtpi.org.uk/ct/ EVENT/1264/11/events/1264

25-27 May Operating windows for site characterisation Copenhagen, Denmark uwww.nicole.org

9-11 May Waste Expo Texas, USA uwww.wasteexpo.com/ wasteexpo2011/public/enter. aspx

13-14 June Biogas 2011 London, UK uwww.smi-online.co.uk/ 2011biogas7.asp

12 May The Future of Delivering Local Plans

14-15 June CIWM Annual Conference 2011 London, UK uwww.ciwm.co.uk/rEvent/

6 April Redevelopment & Brownfield Finance: New Models Explored London, UK 6 April Your Path to Greener Working London, UK 15 & 16 June Site Investigation Conference: Collecting accurate and timely data and employing best practice techniques for cost effective site investigation London, UK usiobhansmyth@newzeye.com u+44 (0)20 8969 1008

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Comment

Caveat emptor

As BB went to press, the struggle to control Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant still hung in the balance. But already, fears about the outcome were diverting attention from the desperate needs of the earthquake and tidal wave victims. These events almost certainly killed more people than the Chernobyl disaster, but the public reaction to risks from Fukushima, in Japan and elsewhere, has wider lessons. That’s timely given DEFRA’s consultation on the Part 2A statutory guidance. While the outcome of the natural events in Japan is now horrifically certain, the effects of contamination, whether chemical or radiological, is never so easy to predict. Uncertainty generates fear and, although scientists can very often provide reassurance about environmental risks, this is not always so. Land contamination is a case in point. The unspoken thought behind DEFRA’s proposals is that such contamination in the UK actually poses virtually no threat to the health of its citizens and, should an acute threat arise in the future, a highthreshold intervention regime would be sufficient to deal with it. It’s possible that’s true, just as it was possible, as some were beginning to argue until this month, that a major incident at a nuclear power plant was no longer possible. Equally possibly, however, UK land contamination could be a significant factor in some cancers, the exact cause of most of which remains unknown, and other conditions. Risk assessment may underpin the regime but, as ever, it’s the problem. Many health risks remain uncertain; they may be negligible and they may not. Sometimes we don’t actually know. So until science provides a much lower level of uncertainty, the approach must remain precautionary. We can dispute how precautionary, but we must have a regime we can be reasonably sure will, in retrospect, have protected the things it’s required to protect. The last thing we need is a system that encourages “amber gamblers”.

“Condensing the sprawling volumes of planning guidance will not undermine the local environment, it will just make planning rules more accessible and easier to read.” DCLG spokesperson, 21 February

Managing Editor Ian Grant Executive Editor Jon Reeds Production Laura Day Sales Siobhan Smyth Editorial email editorial@brownfieldbriefing.com Enquiries customerservice@brownfieldbriefing.com Printer Chris Fowler Int, Bermondsey SE16 4DG © Newzeye 2011. All rights reserved. No material may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the permission of the copyright holders.

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“The National Housing Federation is once again true to form with its cynical posturing on the future of housing supply.” Housing minister Grant Shapps, 22 February.

the most deprived areas and in helping communities to develop plans which are not reliant on public subsidy in the future.” Housing minister Grant Shapps, 10 March.

“The overriding need to reduce expenditure nationally to help tackle the fiscal deficit means that funding will be less than in the past. “It will need to be closely targeted at

“It is probably the best brownfield site in the world.” Ian Grant, Ramboll press lunch on hearing about the re-development of the old Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen, 17 March.

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Brownfield Briefing Issue 120 March