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The latest updates on the ROBUST project

Comic book: ‘How on Earth? What is Brownfield land and how to regenerate it?

12 January 2015

Dr Steve Robertson, an engineering researcher on the ROBUST project, created the comic book which introduces young people (and adults) to what brownfield land is and how it can be regenerated. Focusing on community led initiatives to regenerate small brownfield sites, it illustrates how university researchers, local communities and industry can work together to clean up brownfield land.

The comic book is free to print and distribute, and is a useful tool for learning and thinking about ways brownfield sites can be restored, especially within urban environments where they tend to be overlooked or simply abandoned.

New ROBUST Video: ‘A Nation that Destroys its Soil Destroys Itself’

3 December 2014

This short animation introduces the ROBUST project. It shows how adding minerals and organic matter back into the soil can regenerate brownfield land and help reduce flooding.

ROBUST hosted a workshop at the Institution of Civil Engineers

6 November 2014

The workshop, ‘A Nation that Destroys its Soil Destroys itself’, included speakers from Durham University, University of Birmingham, University of Sheffield, Land Trust, British Geological Survey, Climate Change Committee and many others. The focus of the workshop was to discuss how to combine expertise in engineering and science to regenerate the UK’s soil.

Read more about it here.

Dr Karen Johnson quoted in House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report

9 October 2014

Dr Karen Johnson was quoted in the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s Environmental Scorecard about the impacts of brownfield land on public health. The scorecard examines 10 environmental areas including air pollution, forests, water availability and soils. All of them were given an ‘amber’ (Unsatisfactory progress) or ‘red’ (Deterioration) score. In the section on Soils, which received an amber score, Dr Johnson gave the following statement to the Environmental Audit Committee:

It is important to recognise that the implications of poor soil quality are not only environmental. For example, our current research exploring the regeneration of brownfield land shows that it has wider negative impacts on the general health of communities that live in proximity to it. I recommend that further progress on England’s soil management should emphasise the development of techniques for processing and reintroducing organic wastes into the soil, working closely with engineers in industry and academia.Dr. Karen JohnsonRead the full report on the UK Parliament’s website.

Public Debate: Rescuing our Brownfield Spaces

20 May 2014

Rescuing Our Brownfield Spaces 2014 from The Great Debate on Vimeo.

Brownfield or previously developed land is everywhere. Nearly everyone has visited or lived near an area that was once used for industrial purposes, making it unsuitable for redevelopment. Besides being an eye sore, brownfield is also known to be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of communities who live near it, but often the financial costs are too great for it to be restored and developed.

As the global population rises and land for agriculture and housing increases in demand, redeveloping brownfield may hold a solution to some of these challenges, but how do we do it? Some technologies are available, while others are in the making, but how can they be used sustainably?

This discussion event was highly successful drawing in people from thoughout the North East to talk about what should be done with brownfield land. The event was in partnership with the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience and Great North Festival as part of the ROBUST and ETUDE projects. It was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The dialogue event was successful in bringing together a dedicated group of people to discuss how brownfield land can be reused and restored. It was facilitated by Caspar Hewett and Perry Walker from the Great Debate.

Living near Brownfield

26 March 2012

The first public ROBUST field trial to improve soil health is now underway at Easington Colliery in County Durham.

The ROBUST Field Trial

22 March 2012

The first public ROBUST field trial to improve soil health is now underway at Easington Colliery in County Durham.

ROBUST Podcast Series – Part 3

1 September 2011

In the third part of the ROBUST podcast series Steve Robertson talks to Karen Johnson who introduces different aspects of the project including how to remediate brownfield land using recycled minerals. Download ROBUST Podcast

ROBUST Podcast Series – Part 2

21 June 2011

Part 2 of the ROBUST Podcast series is now available –‘Size Matters.’ In the second part of the ROBUST podcast series, Steve Robertson explains how small, low-value brownfield sites, and other kinds of sites, can be redeveloped. Download ROBUST Podcast

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink?

13 May 2011

Along with research for the project, the ROBUST team has also been busy with a number of public engagement activities. Two posters — Robusters and RRRRethink — have been uploaded to the website in the Media section and photos from the Newcastle Science Festival are now in the Galleries.

Newcastle Science Festival

15 February 2011

The ROBUST team held an exhibit on the project at the Newcastle Science Festival today.

ROBUST Podcast Series – Part 1

15 February 2011

Part 1 of the ROBUST Podcast series is now available –‘Brownfield Land and Redevelopment.’ These podcasts, presented by Dr Steve Robertson, will introduce different components of ROBUST’s research, including land use, environmental remediation, how to detect contaminants in soil, land and well being and much more. Download ROBUST Podcast