Brownfield land is any area which has previously been developed. This can include disused quarries, industrial parks and docks.
Although it is not always immediately apparent, brownfields can be an extremely valuable habitat for wildlife, especially for invertebrates. In dense urban areas such as London , brownfields act as pockets of refuge. They can accumulate unique groups of plants and animals which you would not normally find living together in more natural surroundings. Birds such as the black redstart have adapted to life on these sites, feeding on the abundance of invertebrates and seed heads.
Brownfields also include railway sidings which act as important wildlife corridors that link urban areas to the wider countryside. These corridors provide relatively safe routes to and from gardens, parks and open spaces to enable animals to gather enough food to survive and flourish. They are also important for some invertebrate species that rely on continuous habitat in order to spread from one area to another.
There are over 230 hectares of brownfield in Wandsworth. Battersea Power Station, with its iconic building and 13 hectares of land, is one of the last remaining large-scale industrial wastelands left in London. Although future plans for the site have yet to be finalised, the developer will certainly need to take the wealth of biodiversity into account, which includes peregrine falcons, black redstarts, bats and linnets. We hope to work with the developer through the stages of the planning process to ensure wildlife is both protected and encouraged on the site.
It is possible to replicate some brownfield habitats using brown, green, eco or living roofs on buildings. For example, at the Battersea Reach Development, existing soil/rubble (which will include plant seeds) and demolition material has been incorporated into the roof design of new buildings, The roofs provide habitats for black redstarts and other birds and insects.
‘Brown’, ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘living’ are all terms used to describe roofs that have been intentionally covered in vegetation.