Benefits Of Brownfield Lands Over Greenfield

The rise in the demand for housing in the UK occasioned by the fall in supply has become a source of concern for the UK government. It is estimated that by 2030 the UK will need at least 2 million new homes. These houses have to be built somewhere.

Also, as companies get bigger there is usually a need to expand production and warehousing operations. Therefore, they would need to build new structures or acquire existing ones. The two options available for developers wishing to build new housing units and companies hoping to expand their outfits are Greenfield and Brownfield lands.

Greenfield are vacant lands that have not been previously occupied, they are located majorly in the rural areas. Brownfield have existing buildings but which are no longer in use. Developers and companies will have to make a choice between Greenfield and Brownfield lands. The benefits of building on Brownfield outweigh building on Greenfield.

The UK government aware of the growing need for new housing units made certain very important changes to the housing bill on the 7th of February, 2017, which includes making it much easier for planning approval for development of housing units on Brownfield lands. It is far easier and faster to acquire planning permission for Brownfield lands than for Greenfield lands. It takes a notoriously long time for planning permission to be obtained for Greenfield lands because they are new sites and the council is well aware of the impact of more development on the green belt.

Usually, the total cost of developmental projects on Brownfield land is less than Greenfield lands as the existing infrastructure is already in place, therefore occupancy can happen much faster.

Brownfield development is more environmentally sensitive compared to Greenfield development. There are so many abandoned buildings in the urban areas of the UK. Rather than allowing these spaces to go to waste, Brownfield development aims to recycle them and bring them back to use. But Greenfield development aims to build structures on rural vacant lands and these can adversely affect the lifestyle of local residents as well as disturb the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Most Brownfield sites are located in the urban areas of the UK, this means that commuting is easier and there is less probability of traffic congestion. Greenfield sites, on the other hand, are located in distant rural areas, this would bring about traffic congestion and commuting as people will have to travel from these countrysides into the urban areas daily.

Brownfield development reduces urban sprawl. Urban sprawl refers to the spreading of development such as urban houses, shopping centers etc., on undeveloped lands. It is a fast expansion of the geographic extent of towns. Greenfield development encourages urban sprawl, thereby making them undesirable to environmentalists.

To find out more about the benefits of Brownfield over Greenfield lands, visit or send an email to

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