Derelict land to become meadows at a cost of £150m

A £150m plan to regenerate derelict industrial areas by creating new woodlands, heaths, wetlands and wildflower meadows was launched yesterday by Groundwork, the national environmental organisation, writes David Nicholson- Lord.

Groundwork is seeking £50m from the Millennium Commission as part of an initiative to "bring the countryside back into town" - turning disused factory sites and coalfield waste heaps into new ecologically-rich "post- industrial" landscapes designed and run by local communities.

With another £100m raised from industry, government and private sources, it also plans to create a UK Trust for the Restoration of Derelict Land, which will hold the land for the nation. The body is seen as an urban version of the National Trust.

The scheme was backed by a survey released yesterday showing the recession of the early 1990s created big new tracts of dereliction, which are spreading from traditional industrial areas of northern England into the once prosperous South-east.

The South-east, including Greater London, is generating derelict land at the rate of more than 1,000 acres a year, one-third faster than the North-west.

The survey shows that the total area of derelict land has dropped little, despite more than two decades of reclamation. On present rates, it will take 200 years to clear the backlog.

In England, the area of official dereliction was 43,300 hectares in the early 1970s, 40,500 in the late 1980s and 39,600 in 1993. However, if wasteland and land awaiting development is included, the total rises to about 80,000 hectares, more than twice the area of the Isle of Wight.

Groundwork also released the findings of a MORI poll which showed that 71 per cent think derelict land reduces quality of life and that most want to see it turned into areas for play and informal recreation.

MORI says the findings reinforce previous surveys, demonstrating that "people's immediate environment is a very great concern to them, more consistently so than global concepts such as ozone layer depletion or deforestation".

John Handley, Groundwork professor of land restoration and management at Manchester University, and the report's author, said much conventional reclamation fails because it is boring, expensive and ignores needs of local people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power