The new publication puts landscape at the heart of the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring how we can restart the economy while addressing entrenched health inequalities and tackling the ever-accelerating climate crisis.
‘The economic and social recovery from COVID-19 must be green‘, argues a new policy paper from the Landscape Institute (LI).
Building on the public stimulus announcements made in July 2020 and ahead of the Autumn Statement, the LI urges the UK Government to seize a ‘once-in-a generation chance’ to invest for a truly green recovery. In its new report, Greener Recovery: Delivering a sustainable recovery from COVID-19, the Institute describes what role the landscape sector can play in contributing towards a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and what more the government needs to do to enable this.
A green recovery means green infrastructure
A business-as-usual response will not suffice. A green recovery means leading with green infrastructure.
The improvement in local environmental conditions was an unexpected benefit of the COVID-19 lockdown. Improved air quality in big cities, cleaner water and beaches, better prospects for local wildlife and more are all significant gains that many want to preserve in the aftermath of the crisis.
Historically, national responses to recessions tend to focus on short-term economic growth at the expense of longer-term economic and environmental sustainability. Twelve years on from the 2008 recession, the UK is once again investing in economic stimulus.
The idea of a ‘green recovery’ has received overwhelming public and industry support. But it is not just a slogan. A business-as-usual response, led by capital investment in grey infrastructure construction, will not suffice. A green recovery means leading with green infrastructure.
Five principles for the Autumn Statement
The new LI paper outlines five principles to guide Government action in advance of its Autumn Statement. To achieve a truly sustainable recovery, the UK should:
- Take a natural capital approach to new infrastructure and housing
- Invest in maintenance and retrofit of existing places
- Set higher and fairer standards for green space
- Invest in natural solutions to climate change
- Create a step-change in green skills, digital, and data
A Green Recovery for Parks and Green Spaces
During the COVID-19 lockdown, parks and green spaces provided a lifeline for millions. Rightly championed as crucial assets to maintaining people’s physical and mental health, they became a vital part of the national response to the pandemic. But they need support.
The LI and The Parks Alliance (TPA) are coming together as organisations. Recognising the huge potential of urban green space, we have brought together more than 40 partner organisations and leading practitioners to create the new Parks and Green Space Network. The new Network will support parks leaders to provide a stronger and clearer voice for parks in the UK.
The Network has prepared a supplement to the main report, A Green Recovery for Parks and Green Spaces. Read the supplementary paper here.
We’d like to thank the members of the Network, whose insight and input into this policy paper was of invaluable help in making the best possible case for these vital public assets.
We’d also like to offer our thanks to everyone else who helped shape the paper: the LI’s Policy Committee, Advisory Council, and the College of Fellows; as well as many individual members who emailed in comments.
For questions, comments or contributions to the Institute’s ongoing policy work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.