14 FEB 2024


EIC (Environmental Industries Commission) Manifesto addresses Government’s communications on Brownfield Building

The Government’s communication - published on 13th February 2024 - about its long-term plan for housing and brownfield development serves as a timely opportunity to remind stakeholders of the Environmental Industries Commission's (EIC) position on this important policy area.  

Prioritising brownfield developments and streamlining the planning process reflects EIC members ambitions to tackle housing shortages while safeguarding the countryside and green belt.  

By instructing councils to adopt a more flexible approach and raising the bar for refusing brownfield plans, the Government is beginning to pave the way for increased housing supply. However, economic viability and local government resources remain a significant barrier. 

Publishing the Brownfield First policy was a step in the right direction, but it’s evident that many councils are still lagging behind in incorporating brownfield sites into their registers, as outlined in the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA).  

In response to many of these challenges, EIC Manifesto, published in July 2023, outlines a series of policy priorities aimed at maximising the utilisation of brownfield land and addressing the barriers to its development. These include:  

1. Introduction of a greenfield surcharge.
The infrastructure levy has the potential to incentivise development on brownfield land by reflecting viability and encouraging innovation. The funds generated from this surcharge can be earmarked for infrastructure spending by local authorities, thereby offsetting the higher development costs often associated with brownfield sites.  

2. Increase land remediation tax relief on sites with fewer than 25 units from 150% to 200%.
By bolstering tax relief, we can address one of the primary impediments to brownfield development.  

3. Update the tax relief definition of “derelict land” to be land unused since 1 April 2011.  
As it stands, a site would need to have been derelict for over 20 years to qualify for additional relief. Updating this definition will ensure that more sites can benefit from remediation incentives, accelerating their transformation into productive assets. 

4. Greater resourcing of local authority planning departments, including that of contaminated land officers.
Investment in local authority planning departments, particularly in contaminated land officers, is essential to align with the government's brownfield objectives. Adequate resourcing and improved training for building control officers are necessary to ensure that land remediation works are effectively integrated into the development. 

According to Government analysis, there is potential for up to 11,500 additional homes per year in London alone. By extending Brownfield building reforms nationwide, we can unlock even more homes and accelerate regeneration projects across the country. EIC previously commissioned research into the economics of brownfield development, which shows how it can support the Government’s levelling up agenda.  

The EIC welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the consultation on these proposals, recognising the importance of engaging stakeholders to inform effective policy implementation.  

For further information on our policy recommendations and the work of EIC’s contaminated land working group, go to: 

 Peter Atchison is Director at PAGeotechnical Ltd, and Chair of EIC’s Contaminated Land Group 

Peter Atchison

Peter Atchison


Peter Atchison is Chair of EIC's Contaminated Land group.