Home > Sustainable Locations > Greenfield Sites

Greenfield Sites

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 21 Jul 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Greenfield Brownfield Development

Greenfield sites are areas of land, usually agricultural or amenity land, which are being considered for urban development.

This is a highly contentious issue, particularly in the UK, where the development of land is split between Greenfield and brownfield sites.

It becomes contentious, and political, due to a limited amount of physical space available, competing with an expanding population that needs housing.

Look at our webpage Brownfield Sites for an explanation of the different factors concerning brownfield sites, their particular suitability or otherwise for development, and new eco-technologies for converting them back.

All sides of the debate acknowledge that there is a housing crisis within the UK, but politicians, academics and campaigners disagree as to how it could be resolved. The Government has identified a need to find land for 4.4 million new housing units in England and Wales (figures for Scotland have not yet been identified) by 2016.

Effects Upon Greenfield Sites of Development

  • Once land has been converted to development, it is unlikely to ever be converted back to Greenfield use
  • Destruction of the natural habitat of some animal and plant species
  • Loss of agricultural land results in loss of production and loss of employment
  • Reduction of or complete loss of amenity or recreation value
  • Negative effect upon transport and energy use
  • Loss of the green belt of agricultural or designated wildlife land, that clearly defines and separates areas of difference, be they cities, towns, suburbs, villages or hamlets of housing
This is a package of negative effects upon the Greenfield site and potentially the surrounding areas, if the site is used for building development.

A Recent Example

Early in the 1990's it seemed as though the British Government was putting emphasis on the development of brownfield sites, and the preservation of brownfield sites.

Now the Government, led by economic planning and forecasts, are saying that the use of brownfield sites for development will not be enough, and more land is needed.

In the recent example of the plan to expand London's boundaries by 40 miles along the Thames into Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire, (August 2003), the Government Minister responsible made the case for 200,000 new homes, and the potential creation of 300,000 new jobs, all to be built on a combination of Greenfield and brownfield sites. Campaigners argue that the Government in announcing this plan, had not stuck to their initial promises, and had in fact passed over potential brownfield sites, and that further development up the M11 toward Cambridgeshire and Milton Keynes, also mentioned in the Government plan, would have no choice but to use greenfield land. Creating satellite towns from one large or capital city urban conurbation diminishes local cultural identity, without safeguarding employment, or rural safety, or community values.

A Sustainable Future

There are many examples of small-scale development use of Greenfield sites.These might for instance take part of a piece of agricultural land for construction, but on the other piece, enhance its agricultural status, by converting it for organic agriculture, or small-scale farming, or for the production of plants to convert to bio-fuel, or for the creation of a wildlife habitat, that did not already exist.

There are Greenfield sites that are not being used for any purpose, for whatever reason. Development must consider all human and environmental factors, not just consume land and space for short-term solutions. A sustainable vision would look at all the options for land use, human population expansion, urban sprawl, economic considerations as well as environmental needs.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Currently in the process of purchasing a property with we have now found out that’s it’s a green field site of 6acres and we have been told that my partner might not be able to keep his vintage tractors on the land, is this correct? Or not? Some advice on this would be really helpful. I cannot find information on it anywhere!
Indi - 21-Jul-19 @ 1:28 PM
AlexW - Your Question:
Hi, who is it that officially designates a site greenfield or brownfield?

Our Response:
Local planning authorities are responsible for these decisions. The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 inform the Brownfield decisions and the National Planning Policy Framework informs Green Belt decisions.
SustainableBuild - 15-Aug-18 @ 11:06 AM
Hi, who is it that officially designates a site greenfield or brownfield?
AlexW - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:02 PM
acbiccy - Your Question:
What are the rules and regulations on clearing brownfield sites before new developments are made ?A development that borders my property left a large impermeable concrete pad on the site and simple added more materials to the site. This has resulted in increased ground levels and as my property is lower has resulted in increased flood risk.Are there any rules that state the site must be cleared ?

Our Response:
We don't know of anything specific. There are regulations relating to land contamination but we can't find much about concrete structure. Talk to your planning officer.
SustainableBuild - 27-Apr-18 @ 12:55 PM
What are the rules and regulations on clearing brownfield sites before new developments are made ? A development that borders my property left a large impermeable concrete pad on the site and simple added more materials to the site.This has resulted in increased ground levels and as my property is lower has resulted in increased flood risk. Are there any rules that state the site must be cleared ?
acbiccy - 24-Apr-18 @ 7:28 PM
I want to know aboutthe techniquesused to surveya largegreenfield site
Prathibha - 1-Nov-17 @ 4:08 AM
Chalky - Your Question:
There is a beautiful paddock to the rear of our house that backs on to open agricultural fields. It is outside of the development boundary of the village. There has never been any buildings on there, though a developer wants to build a private access road and a house development of over 4108sq metres for just one property which will not only dwarf the four houses nearby but destroy the beautiful views and habitat that we and the wildlife enjoy.In the planning process the applicant (who Is not a resident of the village)has insisted on belittling the current residents in their responses via formal objection and has not consulted with any wildlife groups to assess the damage such a palatial build will cause.On the application the applicant has insisted that this type of build is what the village needs and has planned to construct a refuse collection point which is right on the garden boundary space, convenient for the design but not for the children that play there. They have argued that in order for him to move his family into the village to integrate he must be granted the permission. There is sufficient existing housing stock here for them to buy and improve should they so wish?There are also other land parcels nearby that could be used to much greater effect.How can we ensure that our views are respected, when the developer has refused to engage with us?

Our Response:
You need to talk to the planning department - it might be worth forming a group and making a representation to councillors at the planning committee meeting. If you can afford to engage a professional to represent you (such as a planning consultant), this might help. Also, try your MP, as he/she is there to represent the interests of his/her constituents.
SustainableBuild - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:46 PM
There is a beautiful paddock to the rear of our house that backs on to open agricultural fields. It is outside of the development boundary of the village. There has never been any buildings on there, though a developer wants to build a private access road and a house development of over 4108sq metres for just one property which will not only dwarf the four houses nearby but destroy the beautiful views and habitat that we and the wildlife enjoy. In the planning process the applicant (who Is not a resident of the village)has insisted on belittling the current residents in their responses via formal objection and has not consulted with any wildlife groups to assess the damage such a palatial build will cause. On the application the applicant has insisted that this type of build is what the village needs and has planned to construct a refuse collection point which is right on the garden boundary space, convenient for the design but not for the children that play there. They have argued that in order for him to move his family into the village to integrate he must be granted the permission. There is sufficient existing housing stock here for them to buy and improve should they so wish?There are also other land parcels nearby that could be used to much greater effect. How can we ensure that our views are respected, when the developer has refused to engage with us?
Chalky - 19-Jul-17 @ 7:33 AM
geordie - Your Question:
Hi I'm george simpson we have 7akrs of land near Coxhoe in County Durham ,it was formely agricultural land until we bought it. We have our stables on the land the land is for our own use only for the last 16 years.Durham cc planning dept have told me it is now green field land ,we would like a house here and have been in contact with a company that builds timber framed lodges under the caravan rules do you think pp would be granted ? is it looked apon more faverably on green field land th building would be almost hidden as it would be surrounded by trees , any info would help us a lot thanks george

Our Response:
The easiest way to get an idea about this would be to talk to your local planning officer. Give them an idea what the building would be like, how temporary or permanent it would be and where it would be sited etc. They'll be happy give you some advice on whether it (a) falls under permitted development (b) needs planning permission (c) the likelihood of any planning permission being granted/refused.
SustainableBuild - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:55 AM
Hi I'm george simpson we have 7akrs of land near Coxhoe in County Durham ,it was formely agricultural land until we bought it . We have our stables on the land the land is for our own use only for the last 16 years .Durham cc planning dept have told me it is now green fieldland ,we would like a house here and have been in contact with a companythat builds timber framed lodges under the caravan rules do you think pp would be granted ? is it looked apon more faverably on green field land th building would be almost hidden as it would be surrounded by trees , any info would help us a lotthanks george
geordie - 7-Feb-17 @ 8:01 PM
Hello, I'm NEW to construction and I have a question, What are the main factors to be considered for a "green field" site with a minimum of 8 dwellings and an access road?
Jenny - 17-Nov-15 @ 12:20 PM
D Scarlett. Great question and one which at the moment we cannot find a definitive answer to...but we'll get back to you on it soon!
SustainableBuild - 9-Jul-14 @ 11:43 AM
I have a question to help in relation to a land dispute in my area. The area has a no greenfield building policy, however this land used to house a mill which was demolished in 1962. Since then it has become a woodland, completely taken back by nature. Someone with a claim to the land (under dispute) is attempting to completely fell the land and build on it as brownfield land. So my question is, is there any legal guidelines as to when a site becomes greenfield land again legally?
DScarlett - 8-Jul-14 @ 10:19 PM
This a question, not a comment! Would the retail price of a greenfield site be reflected in the purchase price if the planning was rejected at the "11th hour", therefore subjecting the developer to go to appeal? Or would the 'envisaged cost of appeal', (given that it IS a greenfield site), be automatically calculated into the purchase price?
FUINAO - 30-Jan-14 @ 3:45 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
SEARCH OUR SUSTAINABLE BUILD DIRECTORY...
IN TOWN / POSTCODE:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mike
    Re: Reclaimed Materials
    This is a cheeky message... Nextdoor neighbour of a friend of mine (naively) has been taken for £6000 by a pair of builders who wouldn't even…
    6 October 2019
  • Siddh
    Re: Sustainable Lighting
    My name is Siddh Patel and I attend Queen Elizabeth's School for Boys in London, England. For my exam in product design, I would like to…
    5 October 2019
  • Stoner
    Re: Stone Construction
    You're wrong by saying slate is only suitable for roofs and floors. I build with slate stone all the time. Local Cornish quarrys have a many…
    20 September 2019
  • Alf
    Re: Stone Construction
    It is worth remembering that the villages of Groby and Swithland in North Leicestershire are on slate outcrops. Groby slate was used by the…
    10 September 2019
  • Tony Fursland
    Re: Compost Toilets
    Allotments in Kent. Composting toilet please. No electricity or water. Price / available
    15 August 2019
  • Michelle
    Re: Environmentally Friendly, Non Toxic Paint
    The article is misleading. A biobased chemical is identical to the one made from petroleum. It is called a…
    14 August 2019
  • Ahmad
    Re: Careers and Courses for Eco Build
    Hi i Ishtiaq Ahmad is interested in environmental design courses
    14 August 2019
  • Rasmia
    Re: Careers and Courses for Eco Build
    hi. do you have any short course on sustainability or green building for 3 to 6months in UK? please confirm me the date…
    1 August 2019
  • Sangita Budhathoki
    Re: Grants and Loans for Green Development
    Hi, This is Sangita from Nepal. I've looking for funding support for the project that helps to encourage to save the…
    29 July 2019
  • Indi
    Re: Greenfield Sites
    Currently in the process of purchasing a property with we have now found out that’s it’s a green field site of 6acres and we have been told that…
    21 July 2019