Wednesday, December 14, 2005

In Search of a Dissertation Proposal!

Brownfields were first defined by USEPA as abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. Although many brownfields are located in large cities with easy access to municipal services and transportation networks, due to liabilities (civil and regulatory) associated with environmental contamination and costs of clean up, both the public and private sectors have avoided the redevelopment of these sites. Recently, legislative tools around the world have addressed the financial and legal issues associated with brownfields development and made it possible for the private sector to step in.

Ontario’s Brownfields Act enhances public accountability for a set of existing municipal planning and financing tools and creates a new regime for addressing regulatory liability. The new legislation is expected to create jobs, increase tax revenues, improve upon the condition of the communities, minimize urban sprawl and the development of greenfields, to enhance environmental preservation. However, it fails to clearly address civil liability if innocent parties are significantly harmed in the future. This not only creates legal ambiguity the public, but also is an obstacle for financial institutions to estimate the risk of providing loans and insurance to the developers.

The simple short-comings of the Brownfields Act and some other Canadian environmental legislations are due to a lack of federal regulatory framework, which could dedicate more information and financial resources to legislative tools. Unlike the United States, in Canada environmental regulation is considered provincial jurisdiction, and the role of Canadian federal government is merely advisory.

Currently no study has been conducted on probability of a re-opener (reason a brownfield may have to be re-assessed) and how that impacts the financial risk for investors in Canada. How should our regulatory system address such risk?

Recommendations and ideas will be greatly appreciated.

4 Comments:

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Jackal said...

This is a bit too specialised for someone as ignorant as me, but there could be some stuff here:

UK Environmental Protection Act 1990 (c43)
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900043_en_1.htm

Also this one (Looks much better):
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/land/contaminated/index.htm

"On 1 April 2000 a statutory regime came into force in England, providing an improved system for the identification and remediation of contaminated land, often referred to as “Part IIA”, or “Part 2A”. Defra is responsible for this regime and the policy which underpins it.

Part IIA is not the only way that land contamination is tackled. Planning and building control also deals with it, along with urban regeneration initiatives, voluntary action by landowners and industry, and the arrangements which protect the environment from the impacts of current human activity, such as waste management controls"

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger Jackal said...

Was that related at all?!

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Bahar said...

Yeah. To some extent. I know about Defra because I was there last year.

But what I am wondering is whether you think this is feasible and useful. You don't really need to have a deep knowledge of brownfields to comment, I think.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger Jackal said...

I don't exactly know what you're looking for. In England, most regulations are business oriented. Do you want to have a look at this case study by Atkins (the company I work for)...

http://www.atkinsglobal.com/skills/environmentalservices/3704385/

 

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