Brownfield development continues apace as new-build housing rises.

Housing minister Yvette Cooper said today the government had proved its commitment to recycling developed land as new statistics showed that the proportion of new homes being built on brownfield sites remained at 67% as the total number of new builds increased in 2004.

The office of the deputy prime minister has released figures from the National Land Use Database, which estimates that in 2004 there was 64,100 hectares of previously developed land potentially available for development in England. This compares with 65,800 hectares in 2003. Of the 64,100 hectares, some 60% - an area the size of the Greater Leeds urban area – was vacant or derelict.

The average density of new homes increased across Britain to 39 dwellings per hectare, compared with 34dph in 2003.

Cooper said: “Brownfield development is at a record level. This shows it is possible to build more homes and protect the countryside at the same time. We always said we needed to make better use of existing developed land to build homes families need. These figures show we are doing exactly this.”