27 April 2018
At a recent breakfast seminar, we hosted an audience of property developers and planning professionals to share insight into changing legislation and new opportunities for brownfield regeneration schemes. Held at the Met Hotel in Leeds on 27th April, it featured presentations from our own planning and environmental experts and guest speakers from The Fiscal Incentives Group and Pinsent Masons.
Entitled 'Brownfield Regeneration: Environmental Liability & Viability,' the seminar covered topics including the effects of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), environmental risks and legislation, maximising asset value through land remediation relief and tax-intelligent procurement.
The Revised NPPF
Matthew Good, WYG Planning Director (Housing & Economics), explained how the revised NPPF retains and strengthens the emphasis on brownfield development, He highlighted the NPPF's call for local planning authorities to use the full range of planning tools, including permission in principle, and its encouragement of proactively identifying suitable development land, such as brownfield or public ownership sites.
His presentation also outlined how the NPPF increases certainty in the early development stages by providing cheaper up-front costs for developers, and reinforces the prioritisation of brownfield developments given in the HCA's Home Building Fund.
On the flipside, he did concede that while the update reduces risk, it does not eliminate it, and there is potential for land cost increases going forward.
For questions related to the NPPF update, please contact Matthew at T: 0113 219 7107 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Risk & Maximising Asset Value
Hazel Gillings, Associate at WYG, then spoke on the importance of environmental certainty in realising asset value. Keeping records, reports, validation documents and regulatory correspondence all go a long way toward reducing risks and fulfilling environmental due diligence before a land purchase.
In a detailed presentation, she emphasised the need to plan for site-specific risk items, quantify development costs, establish potential liabilities, and disclose information to prevent delays and build trust.
For queries about environmental due diligence, please reach out to Hazel at T: 0113 219 7109 or E: email@example.com.
The 'Polluter Pays' Myth
Joining us from Pinsent Masons, Helen Peters presented on the Polluter Pays principle, which states that polluters should bear the expense of carrying out the measures “decided by public authorities to ensure that the environment is in an acceptable state.” Furthermore, environmental law is drafted widely enough to sometimes pin responsibility for pollution on landowners even if they’re not responsible.
While this principle is enshrined in EU environmental law, liability regimes, and financial instruments, Helen said that contaminated land liabilities in the UK do not always follow the principle. Specifically, she said that the Polluter Pays approach is not always correct, and on many developments, "caveat emptor" is more applicable.
To get in touch with Helen about Polluter Pays Principles, you can reach out to her via E: helen.peter@PinsentMasons.com or T: +44 113 368 2099
Land Remediation Relief and Tax Intelligent Procurement
In the final presentation, Ben de Waal, Director of The Fiscal Incentives Group, outlined key eligibility criteria for claiming the tax relief, and the benefit of acquiring a major land interest before undertaking remediation works.
He also advocated for tax intelligent procurement to generate a more robust claim and the need to ensure reports consider technical issues that may influence tax relief claims.
To get in touch with Ben, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.