Brownfield sites owned by councils across the country could be used to build tens of thousands more homes, according to new research from property consultancy Daniel Watney.

The report, based on analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics, revealed that local authorities own 40 per cent of brownfield land with potential in London and 25 per cent throughout the rest of England.

Some 10,000 hectares of the 23,000 hectares of brownfield land throughout England would be suitable for new housing, Daniel Watney explained, with this space capable of supporting nearly half a million properties.

In London alone, a total of 1,123 hectares of brownfield space suitable for development - sufficient for the development of 157,221 homes - is held by borough councils, although these figures only take into account 12 authorities within the capital.

Entitled 'Challenges of brownfield land', the report stated that England's council-owned brownfield sites - amounting to 2,500 hectares - contain enough space for almost 120,000 homes.

Outside of London, the two cities with the greatest potential for development on brownfield sites were named as Birmingham and Liverpool, which had room for 16,391 and 19,112 new houses respectively. 

Publicly owned land could used to build 49 per cent of new homes in Liverpool and 21 per cent in Birmingham, the report found.

John Harding, senior partner at Daniel Watney, said the figures illustrate the "true scale of opportunity" for repurposing brownfield land as space for new housing developments.

London's inner-city boroughs are already doing a "great job" of managing the little land they own, but improving transport means outer London areas - like Hounslow and Redbridge - need to follow suit if the capital's housing needs are to be fulfilled, he insisted.