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Czech Republic seeks way to resurrect old industrial sites

Due to its long industrial tradition, the Czech Republic contains thousands of disused industrial, agricultural, military and mining sites, i.e. brownfields, that are gradually deteriorating and are often ecologically burdened. Nevertheless, there is a chance that new uses can be found for these sites.

09.11.2006

“These areas have great investment potential. They can benefit from their advantageous locations and existing infrastructure, as well as from the possibility to apply for financial aid through European Union structural funds. However, in the Czech Republic there is currently no complete database of brownfields, which would contain all types of such properties and keep track of conditions for their future use,” says Zdenek Jana, director of CzechInvest’s Business Properties and Infrastructure Division.

In cooperation with individual regions, CzechInvest therefore decided to conduct the Brownfield Research Study, the preliminary results of which were made public yesterday within the first annual Brownfields Invest Czech international conference. “On the basis of the finished research, we can say that there are perhaps 12,000 hectares of brownfields in the Czech Republic,” Zdenek Jana explains. “It is apparent from the study that more than 65% of brownfields are under private ownership and approximately 40% of these properties are in some way ecologically burdened.”

The Brownfields Invest Czech conference, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade at the renovated sewage-treatment plant in Prague’s Bubenec district, is now in its second day. “The first day belonged to specialists from Great Britain, which has twenty years’ experience in the area of brownfield regeneration and can convey to us processes that have proven effective in regenerating brownfields,” says Jakub Mikulasek, COO of CzechInvest. “The conference has featured the participation of experts in removing ecological burdens who have already implemented a range of successful projects." Partners of the conference include the British Embassy in Prague, UK Trade & Investment – an agency of the British government, The Association for Foreign Investment and company EarthTech.

“We are pleased by the diversity of the participants in the conference. There are private developers, representatives of financial institutions, architects, representatives of regions and of the state administration, and owners of brownfields," adds Lenka Pohlodkova, project manager at CzechInvest. “In the conference areas, there are charted brownfields with detailed descriptions of the sites. If an investor is interested in a particular brownfield, he or she can address the site’s owner directly."