A china clay spoil tip in South West England before….
…. and after restoration
Forest Research have been conducting research and providing technical advice on establishing greenspace on brownfield, degraded and contaminated land for over 40 years. Our work, and the work of others, has shown that greenspace can successfully be established to provide a wide range of socio-economic, health and environmental benefits. There are, however, many challenges in designing and implementing solutions for sustainable greenspace development specifically with regards to:
- Site investigation
- Soil and water resource management
- Achieving integrated remedial solutions.
Our research is designed specifically to address these issues in a robust systematic way in collaboration with industry based, government and research organisations.
Our key objective is to conduct cutting-edge research that can be disseminated as best practice guidance to stakeholders involved in restoration and greenspace creation on brownfield and contaminated land.
Sustainable development emphasises the need to consider social, economic and environmental concerns in greenspace establishment. ‘Open space’, including unrestored brownfield, has inherent multifunctionality and associated value. Such value can be considered to consist of environmental, ecological and social elements.
In contrast to greenfield sites, brownfield sites also notoriously have liabilities which may be:
- Chemical (e.g. contamination)
- Physical (e.g. compaction)
- Ecological (e.g. invasive species)
- Social (e.g. dereliction).
Successful restoration requires that site value and liabilities are fully ascertained and understood prior to remediation.
Different individuals, groups and organisations within society have diverse needs and expectations of urban greenspace. Increasingly, they also expect to have an opportunity to contribute to the decision making process. Research into People, trees and woodlands therefore seeks to engage with people to understand the current and potential contribution of urban greenspace to contemporary society.
Research in this area aims to develop and disseminate understanding to achieve the sustainable development of urban greenspace from brownfield and contaminated land. It falls into a number of inter-related themes:
- Achieving the sustainable development of greenspace
- Social, economic and environmental benefits of greening
- The role of vegetation in remediation
- Cost effective remediation and restoration for greenspace creation
- Prioritising site development
- Evaluating the role of greenspace in sustainable development.
Forestry Commission policy
The Forestry Commission is committed to helping deliver sustainable socio-economic and environmental regeneration of derelict land in urban and peri-urban areas. It seeks to deliver these benefits through Sustainable Forest Management policies and practices.
Our research develops understanding which helps to guide the development of sustainable forestry policies and practices and supports the Forestry Commission.
Funders and partners
Land regeneration and urban greening research programmes are being supported by:
- Building Research Establishment
- Centre for Environmental Management
- Channel Tunnel Rail Link
- Contaminated Land: Applications In Real Environments (CL:AIRE)
- Department for Communities and Local Government - formerly Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- English Partnerships
- Enventure Northern Limited
- Forestry Commission
- Halcrow Group Limited
- Holliwell Seed and Grain Company Limited
- Landfill Tax Credit Scheme
- London Development Agency
- Maslen Enviromental Limited
- May Gurney
- Southern Water
- Sustainable Urban Brownfield Regeneration: Integrated Management (SUBR:IM)
- Terra Eco-Systems
- Thames Water
- Tilfen Land
- University of Cambridge
- University of Reading
- University of Surrey
- Waste Recycling Group
- Wye College