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Comhar SDC: Green Infrastructure Policy Proposals Noel Casserly Director, Comhar SDC Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Northern Ireland, 11 th March 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Comhar SDC: Green Infrastructure Policy Proposals Noel Casserly Director, Comhar SDC Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Northern Ireland, 11 th March 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comhar SDC: Green Infrastructure Policy Proposals Noel Casserly Director, Comhar SDC Discovery Centre, Oxford Island, Northern Ireland, 11 th March 2010 NIEA/CNCC Ecosystem Approach Workshop

2 Comhar SDC: Who we are Established by government in 1999 building on experience of social partnership Mandate from Minister for Environment Independent chairman and 25 members representing stakeholders from 5 pillars: –Environmental –Community –Economic –Professional/ academic –State. Working Groups on key thematic issues: –Biodiversity –Climate Change & Energy –Green New Deal –Education & Awareness Evidence based policy analysis informs Council recommendations Outreach: Publications, workshops and events, website, Chairmans commentary

3 What is Green Infrastructure ? Connecting habitats for species and giving space to ecosystems. 'Planning approaches which maintain ecological functions at the landscape scale through multi-functional spaces' EC wokshop in GI March a strategically planned and managed network featuring areas with high quality biodiversity (uplands, wetlands, peatlands, rivers and coast), farmed and wooded lands and other green spaces that conserves ecosystem values which provide essential services to society. Comhar SDC GI Study 2010

4 Commissioned Research on Green Infrastructure Comhar SDC has commissioned research on Green Infrastructure. Tasks include: –Establishment of the baseline situation regarding any mapping or policy development –Selection of three local authority areas for baseline assessment of GI assets as demonstration case studies - including urban, rural and mixed areas –Collation of existing baseline data and digitisation of data to produce green infrastructure baseline maps for the three sample areas. Conference 11 th November, 2009, Dublin Recommendation to Government Compass Informatics, Mary Tubridy & Associates



7 Case Study 1 – Urban Area - Dublin 3 GI Opportunities: Improvement of streams (in Parks) by creation of wetland areas; Multi-functionality of existing and new green spaces.

8 Case Study 2 – Broadmeadow River GI Opportunities: Improve connectivity between rural and urban through recreation networks; Build on existing biodiversity, river/ riparian corridors to improve water quality; Recognise and retain valuable networks in rural landscape (hedgerows, drainage).

9 Case Study 3 – Offaly/ Westmeath GI Opportunities: Sustainable energy generation/ production; Tourism potential; Ease of involvement of landowners – Bord Na Mona/Coillte; Development of GI network.

10 Implementation across functions / services Biodiversity & conservation – ecological network –Highly natural areas including designated areas, to urban and industrial areas –No areas are sterile – opportunities in urban areas… –Permeability & ecological function in agricultural areas Water services – quality, flood attenuation… –Water bodies, wetlands, floodplains Recreation & Cultural –Urban/rural open spaces, walks, sports, monuments, demenses… Food & materials production –Agriculture, forestry, orchards Climate change –Flood attenuation, buffer zones, robust habitats

11 GI and Spatial Planning Policy – Compatible at National, Regional and Local levels and direct reference emerging– State of the Art. Clear requirement to go beyond State of the Art – through the following: Need to increase awareness of GI within Planning Forums (Biodiversity and Spatial Planning); Greater Integration of GI within SEA Process, WFD/ Draft RBMPs, Coastal Zone Management; Spatial data collection and availability – importance of Consistency for Mapping; Maximisation of Economic Value of GI – Employment Opportunities, Tourism, Sustainability; Linking to quality of life, life long living. The Way Forward (1)

12 The Way forward (2) GI can provide sustainability within existing and new communities. Incorporation of GI into Planning Policy: –Opportunity with upcoming Planning and Development Act; –Review of Regional Planning Guidelines; –Proposed National Biodiversity Plan; –Development Contributions – Community Infrastructure Levy to ensure Protection/Development of GI (similar to UK). Engage and consult with all relevant Stakeholders. Need to dedicate/identify personnel and resources.

13 Development of practical how-to guides for national, regional and local GI working with stakeholders. Development of robust and integrated national and regional GI. Undertake pilot study of GI following recommended planning process. Research into economic value of existing and potential GI, including employment opportunities. Research or collation of existing research in the context of GI, on the relationship between ecosystem functioning (eg. carbon storage, flood amelioration, production) and biodiversity. Review of scientific basis for ecological networks and benefits to habitats and species. The Way Forward – Future Studies and Research

14 Towards Sustainable European Infrastructures EEAC Statement and Background Document Supported by 19 Councils in 11 countries Addresses green infrastructure (GI) as well as transport and energy –sustainable development principles should guide future infrastructure planning –GI supports a practical way of implementing the ecosystem approach in policy through spatial planning - this is likely to have more resonance with sectors outside nature conservation –GI should be an essential element of a European spatial development perspective

15 EEAC Recommendations Establish baseline situation – MS to identify current assets, functional requirements, benefits & challenges Develop the means – build on existing networks and policy approaches including WFD and ICZM Policy Options – EU Strategic Vision, guidance and standards for MS, sector specific instruments, IA Reconsider EU competence on spatial planning Conflicts must be addressed through planning and SEA –Full impact assessment of transport infrastructure for projects funded by EU & EIB –Environmental values must carry more weight in these assessments Funding – Life+, Structural and Cohesion Fund, Rural Development Green New Deal stimulus type packages can present opportunities to support Green Infrastructure


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