The Black Country has an industrial heritage extending back to the 18th century and consequently bears the scars in the form of a large number of brownfield sites that have resisted redevelopment and reuse. The Brownfield Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) was established in October 2017 with the support of the European Regional Development Fund Programme to provide support to Black Country SMEs involved in brownfield remediation and redevelopment. This support helps bring more brownfield sites back into economic use.
BRIC offers free, innovative, bespoke support to Black Country SMEs who require assistance with any aspect of brownfield remediation and regeneration.
How we can help?
BRIC consists of a core team of six, with additional support provided by University of Wolverhampton academics. The project provides free services to Black Country SMEs and has a target of providing 12hrs of initial business support to 60 SMEs and up to 100hrs of detailed research and development support to 30 SMEs.
The support provided falls into one of the following five categories:
Access to the BRIC research team and to relevant University of Wolverhampton academics to allow remediation solutions to be identified and applied to brownfield sites. This can range for initial desk top site investigation all the way through to detail analysis of soil and water contamination and development of innovative remediation strategies.
State of the art equipment used by the BRIC team to investigate brownfield sites and derelict buildings. All of this equipment can be accessed, free of charge, by Black Country SMEs:
- A 3-D Scanner which produces accurate, three dimensional, indoor and outdoor measurements of objects and buildings, records architectural façades and complex internal and external structures, delivering realistic and true-to-detail scan results.
- 2 Drones, a larger one for use in the open air, the smaller for use within derelict buildings. Both carry cameras, the larger one can also be fitted with a thermal camera. Both drones provide a way to scan sites and buildings, the visual information they collect can be integrated in 3-D scanners. The smaller drone is particular useful as in many cases derelict buildings are too unstable to be accessed directly.
- Ground penetrating radar: Many brownfield sites will have had buildings, structures and utilities on them that have not been cleared or buried; the GPR allows these features to be identified when a site is being considered for redevelopment.
- XRF scanner which can be used in the field to identify the presence of various heavy metals and other contaminants in the soil on brownfield sites.
- Advanced survey equipment for developing an accurate picture of structures and features on brownfield site.
As well as having its own soil and water testing Lab (Total Organic Carbon, Gas Chromatography), BRIC also has access the University’s labs and can take advantage of their XRF and XRD equipment. Both allow BRIC to identify the presence of contaminants in soil and water.
As part of its business support activities BRIC engages in a range of networking activities including workshops, training and an annual brownfield conference.
Over the last 2 years BRIC has been developing a database of all the Black Country’s Brownfield sites. The BRIC Index brings together as much information as possible on these sites, making that information available in an online, dynamic searchable database.
Ultimately, the BRIC Index will remove uncertainty about sites by providing accurate information on the following criteria previous land use, potential contamination, ownership, accessibility, presence of utilities, size, and remediation costs.
BIRC Advisory Board
To ensure that the support provided by BRIC remains current and business focused, its activities are reviewed on a six monthly basis by an Advisory Board. This board includes representatives from the following organisation: the 4 Black Country Local Authorities, Environment Agency, Homes England, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, The British Geological Survey, Canal & River Trust, Coal Authority, Cl:AIRE, Arup Ltd, McAuliffe Ltd, Landmark Ltd., Arcadis Ltd., Balfour Beatty, Dunton Environmental Ltd, Walsall Housing Group and Delta-Simons Ltd.
Click the images below to see how we've helped:
National Contamination Officers Group
The National Contaminated Land Officers Group has been established to give Contaminated Land Officers (CLOs) a confident role in helping to shape the future of land contamination in the United Kingdom.
The purpose of NCLOG is to enable the CLO voice to be heard nationally at government and industry level and be seen as the ‘go to’ organisation when people want to reach Local Authority CLOs on national contaminated land matters. NCLOG will provide a focus for working towards consistency in how CLOs deal with land contamination issues and will also to provide peer support to individual CLOs, who may be the sole individual dealing with land quality in their Council. NCLOG will aim to provide a focus for consultations, establish links with government departments along with other relevant bodies, with a view to co-operating on improving standards and developing best practice.