The 25-year Environmental Plan (2018) and more recently The Environment Bill (2020) has been a clear driver to connect more people to our environment, improve health and well-being and to ensure we leave future generations with improved air and water quality, create richer habitats for wildlife and of course omit wasteful pollution from landfill and our oceans.
The Importance of Green and Blue Infrastructure
We are all fully aware of the multi-functional benefits well-designed green and blue infrastructure can bring, developers may consider the economic benefits more so, however, long-term community connection is a must to encourage active travel, bring communities together, reduce loneliness, improve academic skills, concentration and behaviour. The need for a diverse public green space also needs to be considered, addressing any perceived physical, social or cultural barriers early on.
Green Space is an asset of £2.1 billion per year – Given £1 spend access to green space could save £34 in health costs per person – Public Health England.
What is possible and what legislation is available for successful new developments?
Within the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) guidance there is a great deal of support to enable successful developments from the start. With chapters dedicated to well-designed and sustainable places as well as promoting healthy and safe communities. Assistance may also be given by using The National Design Guide which highlights 10 key areas include public space, nature and movement and includes the need for green corridors for Homes and Buildings.
The National Model Design Code is a tool kit to enable local authorities to work with developers collaboratively on expectations and deliverables for the successful design of future developments. Further detail on coding can be found by viewing a recent planning and collaboration webinar featuring a co-author from URBED. The Build better, Build Beautiful government commission report will certainly enable the use of high-quality design, with new builds and neighbourhoods requiring tree planting – but is this enough? Not just for our communities but for our natural environment to thrive?
Is Biodiversity just a buzzword?
In a word no, the term Biodiversity is used to create wildlife-friendly communities and is now a recommended prerequisite for all new developments – as highlighted in a new NHBC publication co-authored with Barratt Developments PLC and RSPB. To discover more why not join our upcoming webinar on 16th July dedicated to this topic.
Trees, Planning and Developments.
With the planting of urban trees ranking further up the government agenda the need for dedicated resources and education is vital to enable a seamless approach. Policy and legislation change are great to see, design codes even more so, but often some ask where to start….?
Trees Design Action Group (TDAG) are a well-established association with key stakeholders offering a wealth of resource. Their latest offering, Trees, Planning and Development: A Guide for Delivery, is designed to facilitate a better understanding of the range of returns trees offer new developments. The guide is free to download and will be complemented with further sections with contributions from collaborative partners, additional learning and case studies.
What about the Blue?
With developers increasingly rethinking their approaches to flood risk and water management, transitioning from flood defence to flood resilience by implementing water sensitive urban design alongside the more traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure. A transformative change is needed in how we educate, adopt and maintain nature-based solutions for the long term. GreenBlue is proud to support associations such as Susdrain who offer a wealth of resources and case studies. Having recently launched our second edition Water Sensitive Urban Design publication we have been overwhelmed by the traction received and the need to compliment Green with Blue.
A collaborative approach is achievable, Developers working alongside Local Authority Planners, Landscape Architects, Engineers and Utility companies, Contractors and subcontractors all considering what is viable from the outset. Complimented with community engagement and strong supplier networks will ensure quality, seamless developments that will, without doubt, bring a return on investment and a reputation you can be proud of!
Talk to us, we can advise and recommend at each stage of the journey – our passion is Green Blue “Multi-Functional” Infrastructure for the long term – we are here to help.