But does it go far enough?
BRE has made subtle changes to the requirements for native planting in BREEAM, its environmental assessment procedure. These follow concerns expressed by landscape architects and horticulturalists that the section on enhancing site ecology was being misinterpreted by architects and BREEAM assessors who frequently believed that only native plants were allowed.
The changes, rather than representing a major change in approach, are intended simply as clarification.
Simon Odell, head of technical and professional services at the Landscape Institute, commented, ‘The progress made by the BRE over the last couple of years in terms of re-balancing its approach is encouraging. But I have also long believed that if the objective is ecological benefits then the thinking needs to be clear about what species are actually being benefitted and what species we should be planting to provide appropriate habitats.
‘So this is an improvement, but the LI is seeking a step change in the way that landscape design and management are taken into account for building and infrastructure projects over the next few years. With the need to make the landscape work smarter, there is a range of ecosystem services, including visual amenity, that need to be engineered to be delivered by developments.’