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Green infrastructure and greenspace: national and regional updates on policy, political context, guidance and initiatives Catherine Cairns, Delivery Leader.

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Presentation on theme: "Green infrastructure and greenspace: national and regional updates on policy, political context, guidance and initiatives Catherine Cairns, Delivery Leader."— Presentation transcript:

1 Green infrastructure and greenspace: national and regional updates on policy, political context, guidance and initiatives Catherine Cairns, Delivery Leader for Green Infrastructure in East of England

2 Content of presentation
Introduction National updates: PPS and eco-towns policy Challenges posed by new Government ‘Natural Development’ initiative ‘Nature Nearby’ report Sustainable urban drainage Link with ecosystem services ‘No Charge’ report Related initiatives from RSPB, Wildlife and Woodland Trusts

3 3. Regional update Planning challenges
GI strategiesin EoE and their relation to PPG17 Greenspace Strategies mksm GI design guidance Health benefits of greenspace Natural England’s GI Guidance Natural England’s regional GI webpages, newsletter and Champions network

4 Green infrastructure is taking off ….
The importance of planning positively for a network of green spaces both in and around existing settlements and as an integral part of new development is gaining increasing momentum. In the last year, the profile of green infrastructure has really gathered momentum, backed by increasingly strong evidence of its value and benefits. Natural England has played a key role in helping shift government policy and change national planning guidance. Let’s look at some of the GI milestones during 12 months: March international GI ‘Parkcity’ conference, jointly organised by Natural England and CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) March 2009 – Natural England publish its Green Infrastructure Guidance April Landscape Institute published its position statement on GI July World Class Places report in which the last Government recognised the need for explicit national policy for Green Infrastructure. July 2009 – new PPS on eco-towns published and first four locations announced. One is in this region at Rackheath, near Norwich. Each will be required to have at least 40% green space, of which half must be publicly accessible, following the guidance from the TCPA eco-towns worksheet on GI ( a very useful and succinct source of information) November 2009 – Natural England launched its ‘Natural Development’ project (at the Thames Gateway Forum) to demonstrate how both large and small development can incorporate GI in practice. More on this later. November CABE Space launched their ‘Grey to green’ report which states that ‘green infrastructure is a powerful weapon in the fight for stronger communities, healthier lives and a sustainable future’. The report is intended to start a public debate on the need to shift funding and skills from grey to green infrastructure. December 2009 – Last Government proposes 2nd wave of potential eco-towns, including Northstowe near Cambridge March 2010 – Government consultation paper on new PPS ‘Planning for a Natural and Healthy Environment’ with specific policies for green infrastructure, replacing PPS 9 and PPG17 and parts of PPS7. March 2010 – Natural England published report ‘Nature Nearby’

5 Natural England GI Guidance published
Eco-towns required to design in >40% green space CABE’s ‘Grey to green’ report launched Landscape Institute published GI position statement Natural England ‘Nature Nearby’ report published

6 “Green infrastructure” is a network of multi-functional green space, both new and existing, both rural and urban, which supports the natural and ecological processes and is integral to the health and quality of life of sustainable communities. The core strategy should be supported by evidence of what physical, social and green infrastructure is needed to enable the amount of development proposed for the area, taking account of its type and distribution. This evidence should cover who will provide the infrastructure and when it will be provided. Influencing the policies of national government and the planning system

7 ET 14.1 Forty per cent of the eco-town’s total area should be allocated to green space, of which at least half should be public and consist of a network of well managed, high quality green/open spaces which are linked to the wider countryside. Planning applications should demonstrate a range of types of green space, for example community forests, wetland areas and public parks. The space should be multifunctional, e.g. accessible for play and recreation, walking or cycling safely, and support wildlife, urban cooling and flood management. ET 14.2 Particular attention should be given to land to allow the local production of food from community, allotment and/or commercial gardens.

8 The Coalition Government and Green Infrastructure
Create a new designation (like SSSI) to protect areas of particular importance to local people Introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity

9 Place-making in a growth agenda
High quality natural green space is an essential component of creating better places and cohesive communities. Natural green space is a key component in both enhancing existing urban areas and helping neighbourhood renaissance, and in creating new high quality environments.

10 An NE / development sector partnership to value, design and create quality green infrastructure and to demonstrate how – at different scales and locations – the contribution of the natural environment to regeneration. The project will engage with real sites demonstrate positive planning, highlight opportunities and overcome barriers, share best practice to support the mainstreaming of green infrastructure in development and regeneration. NE is supporting delivery regionally and through its ‘A Natural development’ project

11 ‘Nature Nearby’ guidance
This guidance is for parks and greenspace practitioners particularly decision makers, planners and managers It will help them provide quality access to the natural environment It sets out the standards we think will provide the best offer for people and nature in their local park or greenspace It outlines the benefits we can all derive from this approach

12 ‘Nature Nearby’ guidance
1. Accessibility and Quantity Standard Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt) 3 underlying principles: Improving access to green spaces Improving naturalness of green spaces Improving connectivity with green spaces 2. Service Standards Existence of core facilities and services eg. NNR Service Standards Country Parks Accreditation 3.Quality Standard The Green Flag Award - quality of existing facilities and services NE has just published guidance on these standards ‘Nature Nearby’. It is available on our website. The guidance is aimed at parks and greenspace practitioners and their partners, particularly decision makers, planners and managers of green space. It describes the amount, quality and visitor services which NE believes everyone is entitled to, …. and provides advice on how they can be delivered. The ANGSt standards set thresholds for the provision of local, district and sub-regional green spaces and have 3 underlying principles: a) improving access to green spaces b) improving naturalness of green spaces c) Improving connectivity with green spaces So these standards are a valuable tool in planning new greenspaces, as well as enhancing and protecting existing sites. Analysis using ANGST has also been a valuable tool in preparing GI strategies and identifying areas of deficiency at the various thresholds.

13 Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme – Upton development linking new housing area in an urban extension, to a Country Park, Northampton Growth Area Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme – Upton development, Northampton Growth Area

14 Link between GI and ecosystem services
GI is primarily, but not exclusively, focused on urban areas or provides a framework within which sustainable development can be accommodated. Our ecosystem services agenda is looking at the delivery of environmental goods and services at a whole landscape scale with a particular focus on the deeper countryside, notably the uplands. But both are addressing the delivery of ecosystem services and will increasingly need to be viewed together and as parts of an inner city to mountain top continuum.

15 Ecosystem Services approach
Ecosystem services - provides us with a systematic framework to: ‘conserve, enhance and manage the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations’ Ecosystems /natural environment provide the following goods and services provided by ecosystems: Supporting Services Provisioning Services Regulating Services Cultural Services Ecosystem services – the services provided by nature that benefit people – is a useful framework to better understand and communicate the link between nature and society.

16 Provisioning Services:
Supporting Services: The basics for a healthy natural environment and include: the nutrient cycle formation of soil production of oxygen the water cycle Regulating Services: These are the basis for survival, reliant on supporting services including: air quality regulation climate regulation flood regulation erosion control water purification and waste treatment disease control pest control pollination natural hazard regulation Provisioning Services: The products obtained from ecosystems and also the basis for survival:  food fibre fuel genetic resources biochemicals, natural medicines, and pharmaceuticals ornamental resources fresh water Parks and green spaces provide these services within a green infrastructure network servicing, and protecting urban areas and populations in particular.

17 Cultural services Important to human well-being, the economy and social cohesion. They include: a biodiverse environment inspiration through contact with nature and landscape mental and physical health recreation and tourism knowledge (traditional and formal) education and life-long learning cultural heritage spiritual and religious values aesthetic values social interaction and reducing isolation sense of place Parks and green spaces should provide the perfect balance of conservation and recreation with enabling staff to make this happen.

18 The Natural Economy North West has already assessed the economic contribution of all of the open and green spaces within that region.

19 ‘No Charge. Valuing the natural environment
‘No Charge.Valuing the natural environment.’ Natural England October 2009 No Charge This diagram from report shows the environmental benefits - the ecosystem services – provided by GI in an urban context, in improving the quality of place You will find more, setting all the benefits out in a report published by Natural England in November ‘No charge. Valuing the natural environment’. This cites a 5:1 gain from every £1 invested in the natural environment

20 Initiatives to increase GI at a landscape scale
RSPB’s Futurescapes Partnership effort among RSPB, fellow environment organisations, local communities, businesses and government bodies to develop a vision for wildlife–rich countryside in selected areas and to work together to achieve it. Examples from the East of England include Thames gateway South Essex and the Fens Wildlife Trusts’s Living Landscapes Partnership projects at a landscape-scale to restore and extend ecosystems, for wildlife and people, in response to climate change. Examples in the east of England include the Stort valley near Harlow and the Great Fen project. Woodland Trust Challenge to plant 20 million trees over the next 50 years

21 Regional update Key challenge is to make the changes to the planning system work for the delivery of high quality green infrastructure: Use GI strategies as robust evidence base for policy development Ensure LDF documents have strong policies for GI which make explicit reference to the strategic, multi-functional and connectivity roles of a GI network. Ensure planning obligations strategies are in place which include the GI strategy project priorities as potential recipients of planning tariff monies


23 GI and Open Space/Green Space Strategies: what’s the difference?
GI goes beyond the site specific, considering also the ‘big picture’ – landscape context, hinterland and setting, as well as strategic links of sub regional scale and beyond GI includes both private as well as public assets GI provides a multi-functional, connected network delivering ecosystem services PPG17 strategies consider a local authority’s publicly-owned greenspaces primarily from access, quality and management perspectives, rather than consideration of their wider environmental benefits and services. These green spaces are however important constituents of a GI network


25 Health benefits of access to greenspace
Evidence that access to green spaces can Save lives Help local authorities with pressing social, health and wellbeing issues Reduce stress, anxiety and depression Enhance social interaction and promote independent living Help promote and sustain increased physical activity

26 Natural England’s Green Infrastructure guidance

27 What guidance is there to help you?
Natural England Green Infrastructure Guidance and case studies, and Nature Nearby 2. TCPA eco-towns worksheet on green infrastructure 3. Natural Economy Northwest (2008) The Economic Value of Green Infrastructure 4. CABE Space 2006 Paying for Parks 5. CABE Space 2009 Grey to Green 6. Sustainable Drainage. Cambridge Design and Adoption Guide.

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