Megasites in Europe

Brownfield regeneration is essential for sustainable land management in European Member States. Major areas previously used for military, mining, industrial or commercial purposes are frequently beset by high levels of complex contamination. Regarded as being problematic, many have become brownfields, impeding the development of surrounding communities.

There are different definitions for brownfields in Europe. The CABERNET - Concerted Action on Brownfield and Economic Regeneration Network - provides an overview of brownfield definitions in Europe.

In Europe, there are over 20,000 large and complex contaminated sites. These so-called Megasites threaten scarce soil and water resources and cause environmental and health risks as well as economic and social costs. Their effective and sustainable regeneration requires innovative investigation and remediation technologies and integrated evaluation approaches for optimised reuse options.

Currently, the success in brownfield regeneration is unsatisfying in terms of financial and eco-efficiency or social acceptance. Many useful and innovative technologies for site clean-up as well as methods to support decision making processes exist, but they are only rarely applied using their entire potential.

Sometimes the non-visibility of tools is the reason that problem owners, managers, local authorities and other stakeholders do not regenerate brownfields using the best available technology and decision support systems measure. Additionally, emerging challenges, such as the urgent demand for soil remediation and the reuse of on-site infrastructures by the European Union, call for the development of new and integrated solutions.