ODPM and English Partnerships select 12 local authority areas with a large number of blighted brownfield sites.

Twelve local authorities have been selected for a pilot programme that aims to bring blighted brownfield sites back into beneficial use.

The first 12 local authorities areas to have been selected by the ODPM and English Partnerships have a mix of urban and rural examples with a varied history and reasons for dereliction.

Over 2,000 long-term blighted sites in England have been identified by an English Partnerships research. It is hoped that at least one hardcore site in each pilot area will be developed either for commercial or recreational use. These schemes would be funded through private sector investment.

Practical studies into each of the sites will be led by a local brownfield partnership, including representatives from English Partnerships, the local authority, Regional Development Agencies, development industry, local business and community groups.

English Partnerships national brownfield strategy director, professor Paul Syms, said, “We have a very good idea about how land has become derelict and why it is not being re-used, but the pilot programme will actually tease out the real practicalities of bringing these long-term, hardcore sites, back into beneficial use.”

The 12 pilot areas are Easington, Barrow-in-Furness, Manchester, Sheffield, Mansfield, Dudley, Milton Keynes, Ipswich, Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Bristol and Kerrier.

Work will begin in each pilot area over the next two months. A report of the findings is expected to be published in early 2006.