OVAM is a key player in the remediation of blackfields
. Blackfields are extreme versions of brownfields in which contamination, often combined with other problems, is so serious that only active government intervention can offer a solution. This active, government role involves not only remediation, but often also the purchase of the site, usually for ‘one symbolic euro’. OVAM has very relevant experience in this field, for example in the remediation of former Manufactured Gas Plant Sites, documented in this video
, and a strong ambition to remediate all such contaminated sites by 2036.
The brownfield and blackfield strategy
can contribute to realising the SDG11 for sustainable cities
. Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable will be a huge challenge in the coming years and decades. Addressing soil remediation from a ‘land as a resource’ perspective can help achieve this SDG as it renders more land available and fit for multiple uses within an urban context (healthy homes and workspaces, urban farming, etc.).
Work focuses on the following subtopics:
Developing planning strategies and tools for the reuse of soil & land resources through soil remediation as key to a circular economy, in the context of safeguarding greenfields and ‘good quality soils’ for use as open, agricultural or natural space. Enlarging the scope and further developing the methods emerging from projects such as REPAiR
, which dealt with wastescapes and brownfields. And developing policy instruments, like Dynamic Landfill Management
, for resource management in peri-urban areas.
Assess benefits of soil remediation in socio-economic contexts and models (brownfield development, interim/multiple/temporary usages, mixed functions, circular economy on the site, expanding the potential of urban farming, restoring urban ecosystem services, etc.), social contexts (affordable housing through more available space, etc.), and health measures (addressing pollution and creating more healthy living environments, dealing with emerging contaminants, etc.).
Address challenges of integrated approaches towards land as a resource in an urban context, e.g. nature-based remediation techniques with multiple benefits, use of new business and financial models, multi-actor processes and coaching, data availability and data mining, legal framework (how to deal with the ‘common vs private’ aspect of urban soils, etc.). As well as how to adapt land management and spatial planning processes to guarantee efficient use of land and soil.
In a circular economy
, soil or sediment excavated for remediation or infrastructural work purposes can be used as secondary raw material (e.g. building or construction material). For safe use of excavated soil/sediment as secondary raw material and to guarantee and monitor safe reuse, there is need for knowledge on safe reuse practice, sustainable and cost-effective treatment options and a legal and management framework, combined with spatial planning and land management tools.