The hearing on Thursday was hosted by Halton BC at the Catalyst Museum in Widnes and involved councillors from across the country. The task group heard evidence from two property development companies, an insurance company and two local authorities. The panel also toured a number of brownfield sites in the Halton area.
`We are in Halton today because this local authority has over 40 years, unrivalled experience in land reclamation and regeneration.'
Commenting about the hearing, leader of Halton BC, Tony McDermott said: `I am very pleased that the LGA is holding this hearing in Halton - a decision which recognises the fact that we have one of the biggest brownfield site problems in the country. We are at the cutting edge of work to deal with these problems, and are part of a national pilot scheme developing new ways of treating waste on contaminated sites. This is an ideal opportunity for the task group to visit the borough and see some of the problems for themselves'.
1) The inquiry was launched in August 2001 and aims to assess the barriers to the re-use of brownfield land for new housing and commercial development as well as soft after use in agriculture, forestry and recreation. It also seeks to identify what actions need to be taken to overcome barriers.
2) To date, over 80 written responses have been received from a wide range of organisations including private development companies, local authorities, financial and legal organisations, and housing, rural and environment organisations.
3) The panel is holding a total of four hearings over the coming months and the task group aims to produce a report on the findings of the inquiry in 2002. The report will include recommendations for action for central government, local government and other stakeholders.