Brownfield land registers detailing previously used sites suitable for housebuilding will have to be drawn up by all local authorities under new measures announced by the Government.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said having up-to-date, publicly available registers will help developers identify suitable brownfield sites quickly, potentially unlocking enough land for thousands of new homes.
Land included in the registers will also have "permission in principle" for development, which the Government claims will simplify the planning process and give builders more certainty over whether a site is suitable for development before working through the process to obtain full planning permission.
Further legislation will be introduced later this year to spread permission in principle more widely in the planning the system.
Development on brownfield sites will be supported by the £3bn Home Builders Fund. An additional £1.2bn is available to support the delivery of at least 30,000 Starter Homes on brownfield land.
"We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we reuse brownfield land is crucial," Barwell said.
"We want to bring back to life abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.
"These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this."
The regulations to introduce brownfield registers and permission in principle have been laid in parliament as part of secondary legislation relating to the Housing & Planning Act. They will come into force 21 days after being laid.