EIC welcomes Homes England plans to boost housing supply through brownfield

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has welcomed government plans to invest £1bn to unlock 40,000 homes, 200,000sqm of employment floorspace and significant levels of private sector investment, through the Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land fund (BIL).

The government says the fund will span Homes England’s land, grant and equity activities so it can better support the needs of places, partners and their projects, with the primary objective of bringing forward strategic sites and housing-led opportunities which support economic growth and long-term housing supply. 

At least 60% of activity will be focused on brownfield land - land that has been previously used and is now vacant, derelict and sometimes contaminated.

The government says it is committed to working with partners to find the optimum solution for infrastructure, land and enabling, which could be at a place or individual site level.

The support on offer could span single interventions or packages of integrated activity and will involve work with public and private sector partners.

Guto Davies, Director of Policy at the Environmental Industries Commission said the government's proposed initiatives for brownfield regeneration and housing delivery were "a significant step forward" in addressing the "pressing challenges" communities face today. 

“The commitment to allocate substantial funding for brownfield sites demonstrates the government's recognition of the immense potential these areas hold,” Davies said.

"To unlock further potential, the recently published EIC Manifesto calls on government to introduce a greenfield surcharge as part of the infrastructure levy. 

“The levy has the potential to incentivise development on brownfield land by reflecting viability and encouraging innovation.

“The funds from this surcharge can be earmarked for infrastructure spending by the local authority, mitigating the higher development costs of brownfield sites.”

EIC’s Policy Manifesto, recently published at a Parliamentary Reception, also calls on government to increase land remediation tax relief on sites with fewer than 25 units from 150% to 200% and updating the tax relief definition of “derelict land” to be land unused since 1 April 2011.

In addition to the financial support, the government aims to expedite new developments and empower local communities to construct their own homes through additional reforms to the planning system. 

A new fund of £24 million has been announced to scale up local planning capacity, while an extra £13.5 million will be dedicated to establishing a new "super-squad" of experts to support large-scale development projects and unlock planning decisions efficiently.

Read the EIC's manifesto.

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