The United Kingdom is currently in the throes of a serious housing crisis and the solutions being suggested are quite radical. Ministers are, for example, looking at a new generation of “prefabs” or modular homes, because the latter can be constructed and much-needed housing delivered quickly. Repurposing brownfield sites is also thought to be key to the country’s future strategy.

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Land Remediation: A British Skill

Owing to its lengthy industrial history, Britain has more so-called brownfield land – around 400,000 hectares – than many of its counterparts. As the Government says in a recent guide, the nation’s mastery of the most advanced land remediation techniques springs from necessity. We simply had to develop processes to help transform disused industrial areas into safer, functional and more aesthetically pleasing spaces. There have been some striking land remediation successes across the UK, with the London Olympics Village being perhaps the most high-profile. But adopting disused brownfield sites for vital housing could ultimately be even more important than that famous project.

Homes for the 21st Century

There is an argument that we will need to deregulate planning on the green belt if we are really going to succeed in making significant inroads into the housing shortage, but it probably makes greater sense to repurpose existing brownfield sites before we breach our precious green spaces. This is the thinking behind the various projects that are currently afoot to convert former industrial land into housing, including an exciting new scheme for North London.

Meridian Water is a 210 acre space situated in the borough of Enfield. It is host to such retail behemoths as Ikea and Tesco, but is also close to some delightful parkland like the Lee Valley Regional Park and the waterways of the River Lee and Pymmes Brook. Expertly remediated, this land could be the ideal location for a vibrant and attractive waterside community. It is expected that there will be similar schemes adopted up and down the country, with local authorities seeking land remediation services such as those provided by to transform post-industrial eyesores into comfortable modern living spaces supplying accommodation for thousands of families.

Delivering suitable housing has been identified as one of the central challenges of our time. Unloved and often unused brownfield sites are currently part of the problem. Remediating them can turn these spaces into part of the solution.

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