The environment is a highly valuable, capital asset that should be managed intelligently for long-term sustainable socio-economic benefit. The region’s environment generates an estimated £2.6bn GVA and supports 109,000 jobs. As such it is being integrated as a key driver for underpinning the region’s future economic success. The concept of the environment as a driver of economic renewal marked a radical shift away from the traditional view that the economy and the environment are at odds with each other. In reality, using our natural assets intelligently can lead to business success and sustainable economic prosperity.
The rationale for investing in land regeneration is based upon addressing the perceived poor image of the North and achieving the regeneration benefits of Brownfield land regeneration for soft end uses – i.e. strategic public open and community forests on land which had no foreseeable economic use. The NWDA land regeneration programmes at their peak accounted for c. £18m of NWDA spend per annum, providing a proportionate response to tackling the stock of Brownfield land. In addition to these programmes, NWDA also supported a broader package on environmental quality initiatives, including work on Regional Parks, Places Matter! and the development of ‘Adapting the Landscape’.
 For a definition of ‘Brownfield’ land, refer to Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 3.