The Civic Trust has warned that the government’s target for brownfield development will not be achieved without inducements to housebuilders to develop contaminated land.

Mike Gwilliam, director of the Civic Trust, said government funding was required to ensure contaminated brownfield sites were developed by housebuilders.

Gwilliam said: “Public funding is a key ingredient for difficult sites. Without it, private developers will go elsewhere and invest in areas where easier opportunities exist.” The warning comes in a report carried out by the Civic Trust for the House Builders Federation that shows that only 29 of 54 brownfield sites identified for housing in 1986 had been used for homes and 70% of developers avoided contaminated land because of the problems involved.

HBF chief executive Roger Humber said: “Many local authorities are reluctant to grant planning permission for contaminated sites because the government has failed to introduce proper guidance.” He added: “The government needs to resolve the situation now. We need real policies which will encourage brownfield development.” The government has called for 60% of new homes to be built on brownfield sites.