Planning changes will cut funding for green infrastructure
Plans proposed by DCLG could severely limit revenue funding for green spaces and make it harder for groups of local authorities to collaborate on the development of green infrastructure. These proposals are the subject of a recent consultation on planning obligations to which the Landscape Institute has responded.
Planning obligations have traditionally allowed for ongoing management and maintenance of open space, critical to the continued delivery of the benefits provided by green infrastructure. The changes proposed will preclude the ability of local authorities to obtain developer contributions for maintenance and management of areas predominantly used by or for the public. LI President Neil Williamson said: “If there is no money from developers there is nothing to ensure that trees, planting and habitats become properly established. If these proposals go ahead, local authorities will see any new public open space or green infrastructure as an unacceptable burden on limited public funds, rather than the valuable public assets they are.”
The proposals also limit future planning obligations to those “directly related to the development”. Recent legal judgements confirm that there is a growing awareness of how development in one place can have indirect effects on a wider scale. These effects, cumulatively, may require mitigation.
Williamson continued: “If the planning regulations define ‘directly’ in the narrowest sense, we will move away from the principle that the developer has to fund the full cost of the project, with all its impacts. We will be back to the days when the developer only assumes the narrow, short term risks, and the council tax payer is left to deal with the larger and longer-term consequences.”
“The coalition government has promised measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors to address climate change, halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity. It has also promised more green jobs and green investment,” said Williamson. “These proposals fly in the face of that promise, and we urge the government not to enact them as they stand.”
To download the Landscape Institute response to the consultation, click here.