100. The Government is prioritising the reuse of
brownfield sites for new housing development which improves the
environment in urban centres and minimises the need to travel.
The Government's new housing programme offers an opportunity to
reuse these difficult sites, many of which have blighted neighbourhoods
for a long time. There is no shortage of potential brownfield
development sites; that local authorities, Regional Development
Agencies and other public landowners need to take the initiative
in getting affordable housing built on them. We look at their
101. An increasing proportion of homes is in fact
being built on brownfield sites. In 2001, 61% of homes were built
on brownfield sites, exceeding the Government's 60% target for
2008. But Lord Rooker
pointed out that the target was met at a very low level of output.
He said: "We will be stretched to maintain the 60% target
by a step change in production."
102. There is also an increasing supply of brownfield
sites. English Partnerships' National Land Use Database shows
about 21% of the sites identified by the first survey in 1998
had been developed by 2001. Local authorities have identified
more brownfield sites and EP's latest survey in 2001 shows that
about 62,400 hectares of brownfield land are available for redevelopment,
an 8% increase on EP's last survey in 1998.
The survey pointed out that the average size of the urban brownfield
sites was smaller than in the 1998 survey. Most of the brownfield
sites are in the northern regions, but the database highlights
the availability of about 22,000 hectares in the South; 12,000
hectares of that was suitable for about 380,000 homes.