DEFRA and CLG ministers support Local GI campaign and launch GI Partnership

Richard Benyon MP with his copy of the Local Green Infrastructure book
Richard Benyon MP with his copy of the Local Green Infrastructure book

The LI joined the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Communities and Local Government (CLG) and other key partners for the launch of the new Local GI initiative and the government’s Green Infrastructure partnership in Victoria on Tuesday 11 October.

The partnership, which will run for two years, is made up of landscape architects, planning professionals and environmental interest groups, and is supported by Defra, CLG, the TCPA, Arup and the LI.

Speaking at the launch, Rt Hon Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA, said: “We decided to set this partnership up because green infrastructure can help in delivering so many of our policies – not only for the environment, but also for our social and economic objectives’.

Kate Henderson, CEO of Town and Country Planning Association, called it “an exciting initiative and important partnership”. She singled out the planning aspect for praise, saying: “I’m glad to hear the Ministers’ commitment to making sure the planning system delivers – it’s vital.”

Gordon Dickson, Manager of Places for People, stressed the important role that the housing sector has in supporting this partnership. “As a sector, you might argue that we’ve traditionally focused on decent homes. And while it’s important to have decent bathrooms, kitchens and windows in properties, it’s also important that those properties are in decent neighbourhoods. Too often the importance has been placed on the home, rather than the space around it.”

Nicole Nueser, Senior Landscape Architect at Arup, discussed how infrastructure can build a bridge between conservation and development, “which traditionally used to pull in the opposing directions”.

To mark the partnership, the LI has published a definitive guide, entitled Local green infrastructure: helping communities making the most of their landscape. Bob Neill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at Communities and Local Government, endorsed the guide, saying: “I welcome the Landscape Institute’s publication and the eight case studies it highlights. A clear message from the examples is how vital green infrastructure is. It can help to underpin our growth ambitions, by attracting investment and helping to ensure new houses and business premises are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.”

The guide, which was produced by the LI Policy Committee, presents eight case studies that show how local people and businesses can make their towns, cities and villages more attractive, healthier and better for wildlife.

Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive of the LI, said: “The days of large-scale projects are over until the economy recovers, but you can get a big return on a small investment out of local green infrastructure. When times are tough, it matters more to people that the places they live and work in look their best, and help attract new business and investment.”

Three of the case studies were illustrated with presentations from the landscape architects involved.

Xanthe Quayle, of Camlin Londsdale, discussed Bury Mount and Watermeadow, Towcester. She described how Bury Mount, which had fallen into disrepair, has been transformed into a much needed and loved public space through the use of green infrastructure.

Johanna Gibbons, of J&L Gibbons, talked about the Eastern Curve project in Dalston, London. She described how important engagement and discussion with the local community was to the success of the project, saying: “As landscape architects, our role is to help visualise what the potential is to local communities.”

Martin Kelly, of Victoria BID Clean and Green Steering Committee, discussed ‘Greening for Growth in Victoria’, a project that looks to imbed the natural environment in a climate-resilient business area. He described the projects aims, which includes “turning Victoria into a destination, rather than what it’s tended to be, which is a hub that people just pass through”.

Download the publication and view the new green infrastructure section here.

Read The Guardian‘s article on the GI Partnership here.


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