Brownfield or Open Mosaic Habitat

Resources about Brownfield (otherwise known as Open Mosaic Habitat) sites

Here in the capital, Boris Johnson’s ‘London Plan’ calls for retention/creation of brownfield at a particular overall number of hectares, because of known conservation importance. But there is no legal requirement and, as far as we can see, no monitoring, to enable anyone to see whether this target is being attained – even by accident.

Bexley Council lacks even the most basic data to be able to contribute to the target. It had a Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation Review in 2013, and Bexley Natural Environment Forum argued strongly for brownfield sites to be included in the survey work for the above reasons , but they were not. The surveyors (London Wildlife Trust) said we had a good case for requesting inclusion. The chances of this ever happening are now near zero. But a lot of the existing and potential brownfield is/will be near the river Thames. We believe that this should be returned to marshland – of which only small fragments remain – if the Council and others really believe their own statements about the importance of such habitat. Consequently we will continue fighting against re-‘development’ of a lot of local brownfield sites, and all sorts of other ‘growth’-driven schemes.

Erith Quarry, now under threat from ‘development’, but actually Borough Grade 1 SINC, is classed as brownfield, which to laypeople all too often conjures up a picture of somewhere ugly with no wildlife value – something that in this case and others can be far from the truth.

For general information about brownfield sites, and how important they can be, see Buglife’s ‘brownfield hub’ pages:


June 2014

A new website designed to aid the identification of particularly wildlife-rich brownfield (aka Open Mosaic Habitat or OMH) has been set up (and at the time of writing is still in the process of development):

Of brownfield sites so far analysed around 8% are thought to contain ‘high value’ habitat.

Nearly 15% of all nationally scarce invertebrates are found within these priority OMH sites.

The ‘Thames gateway’ area is particularly rich in brownfield sites that are particularly important for biodiversity.

Elsewhere, ‘brownfield’ may offer opportunities for access to nature and ‘green space’ in heavily built up areas that were previously lacking.

Download the PDF file .


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