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
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test