Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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CPRE's policy on brownfield land

Land is a precious resource, and must be used wisely. CPRE supports a ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ strategy as a general principle. However, just because a site is brownfield does not mean it should necessarily be developed.

Wherever possible, it is generally better to use already developed urban land and buildings than to build on green fields.

CPRE believes we need to tap this potential [the potential of brownfield sites] while protecting the character and quality of existing residential areas.

It makes social, environmental and economic sense for most new development to occur in built-up areas, where infrastructure and services are already in place, or can easily be provided, rather than in the countryside. Brownfield development is essential for urban regeneration. Done well, it brings homes, jobs and services closer together, reduces car dependence and enhances communities. However, not all previously developed sites should be considered suitable for development. Land important for wildlife, historically significant or that provides valuable open space should be safeguarded from inappropriate development.

What CPRE wants:

  • A ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ approach – to protect the countryside and regenerate urban areas.
  • Removal of obstacles to brownfield development - financial support for remediating contaminated land.
  • A plan-led approach which responds to the needs and aspirations of local communities.
  • Better use of existing buildings – reduction of VAT on building repairs, which deters responsible maintenance and favours demolition and development on greenfields over building re-use and refurbishment.
  • Protection for urban open spaces, wildlife habitats and sites of historic importance.
  • Local brownfield strategies to tackle brownfield blight, identify opportunities for regeneration and ways to overcome obstacles to brownfield development.
  • A national target of at least 75% of residential development and 85% of commercial development to take place on brownfield sites.

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