Brownfield Land Scotland: The highlights

February 14, 2020

On 5 February, RSK directors Tom Henman and Andrew Gunning presented at Brownfield Land Scotland 2020 in Edinburgh. The annual event, run by Environment Analyst, updates brownfield professionals on the current planning and regulatory backdrop for brownfield land development in Scotland and provides practical solutions to many of the current challenges faced when risk assessing and remediating contaminated and derelict land.


RSK’s Tom Henman presents

Tom and Andrew, who examined the risk of carbon dioxide arising from disused mineral mines and the implications, were first up after lunch.

“RSK was appointed by the Scottish Government to carry out a research project into the prevalence of CO2 from disused mineral mines and the resulting risk to residential buildings, which was published recently,” explains Tom. “Andrew and I introduced this project, spoke about the Gorebridge incident and other identified incidents of mine related CO2 emissions and discussed the nature of abandoned mine-workings and circumstances where risks related to CO2 emissions are raised. We also addressed the role of groundwater rise, climate change and low barometric pressure and considered the pros and cons of mandatory mitigation measures versus a robust, risk-based approach to planning and development. We concluded by discussing the report recommendations, including proposed changes to Scottish Planning and building standards and guidance and further research requirements.”

The audience of contaminated land and environmental health officers in local councils, regulatory agencies, consultants and contractors received the presentation well.

Tom was also asked by Environment Analyst to lead a roundtable discussion on the topic ‘“What does the Next Generation Brownfield Professional Look Like?” Determining the right balance of skills required to work effectively in a changing industry sector.’ After giving a short introduction to the topic and outlining points for discussion, Tom facilitated further discussion and exchange of ideas amongst a diverse group of professionals. The lively discussion touched on several current challenges including digitization/data management, developing commercial versus technical skills and managing the expectations of millennials. Look out for a future thought piece with more on RSK’s view on this topic soon.

Several people marked the roundtable as the highlight of their day, with one delegate commenting, “The range of attendees and experience enabled a great discussion; good variety of viewpoints and backgrounds of attendees and the chair directed the discussion well.”

Next stop for Tom is a webinar on the ‘Risks of Mine Gas to Housing’ and Environment Analyst’s Brownfield Summit on 12 May.

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