Brownfields projects downgraded
By Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The importance of regenerating brownfield land has been down-graded to the bottom of a list of nine indicators that determine regional development agency funding.
The amount of derelict land held by a regional development agency will claim only a 1.2 per cent weighting under the Government’s 2005 ‘single pot’ funding formula for the quangos, compared to 3.1 per cent last year. This means that the Government will treat brownfield reclamation as the least important factor to consider when allocating RDA funds.
Other factors, such as a region’s population and skills deficit, have moved up the list.
The move has raised fears that the Government is reducing its commitment to brownfield regeneration. Amanda Brace, Campaign to Protect Rural England regional policy officer for London, said: ‘In the run up to its much-trumpeted
Sustainable Communities Summit this month, the Government appears ready to water down its support for urban regeneration. Is it still committed to brownfield regeneration? If so, it should increase, not reduce, the importance of the brownfield land reclamation target in measuring RDA performance.
‘We are concerned that the Government is reviewing RDA targets effectively in secret, without input from regional stakeholders. We fear changes to some targets could undermine efforts to deliver sustainable development.’
A spokesman for the RDAs said that the Department of Trade and Industry had argued that the formula was simply a tool for allocating funding between regions, and was not linked to the amount of money individual RDAs would invest in brownfield land.
‘Each RDA is allocated a single pot of funding based on a whole range of statistical measures designed to compare the economic situation in each region.
Each RDA then decides how to spend its allocation based on regional priorities,’ he said. ‘The Government’s national brownfield land reclamation target remains more than 1,400ha per annum.’
Source: Regeneration magazine