• Rob Allen

Brownfield Site Assessment - Explained!

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

Developing a brownfield site can be a complicated process. Applying a phased approach to environmental assessment can often save time and money. In order to make things more transparent, we have created a handy infographic, which details what to expect at each stage in the planning process. This approach is also presented in accordance with the following guidance:

  • CLR11 - Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination (2004)

  • R&D66 - Guidance for the Safe Development of Housing on Land Affected by Contamination (2008)

  • BS10175 - Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites - Code of Practice (2011)

Broadly speaking, the process can be boiled down to: site characterisation (stages 1 and 2), data collection and risk assessment (stages 3 and 4), remediation (stages 5 and 6), and validation and regulatory sign-off (stages 7, 8 and 9).

Feasibility assessment
Phase 1 Desk Study
Phase 2 site investigation
Detailed quantitative risk assessment
Remedial options appraisal and method statement
Remedial work
Unexpected contamination

These stages are often reflected in the wording of planning conditions applied by the local authority. However, the process may not need to be completed in its entirety at every site. If at any stage, it can be demonstrated that there is no significant risk to human health or the surrounding environment, then the work can be finalised, and the planning condition discharged. For example, if the Desk Study (stage 2) identifies the potential for contamination, but subsequent Site Investigation (stage 3) demonstrates that there has been no impact to soil or groundwater, then this would fulfil the planning requirements and no further assessment would be necessary.

Similarly, the timeline for submission may also vary between sites. For example, at a location where significant impacts from contamination are widely known to exist, the local authority may require site investigation and risk assessment to be carried out prior to determination of the application.

We hope you find this infographic useful. If you have any queries or would like to learn more about development or acquisition of brownfield sites, please contact us on 020 7813 5085 or email