Landscape Institute press statement: Government scraps Green Infrastructure guidance
30th January 2015: for immediate release
A group of organisations including the Landscape Institute, the Town and Country Planning Association, Groundwork UK and The Land Trust have written to the Government expressing their concern for the disappearance of Green Infrastructure guidance within National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG). Until recently the green infrastructure guidance was found as a link on the Natural England website. However, in a shift to the central .gov website the guidance has been archived and is no longer accessible.
Speaking about the loss of guidance Noel Farrer, President of the Landscape Institute, said: “Without proper guidance green infrastructure will effectively become ‘downgraded’ throughout the planning system. This is fundamentally at odds with the Government’s ambition, set out in its Natural Environment White Paper, “to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than it inherited”. It comes at a time when the independent Natural Capital Committee has reiterated the importance of the natural environment in meeting sustainable economic targets and improving our wellbeing. We want Government to provide us with assurances that this situation with be resolved so that the real potential of green infrastructure can be realised”
Euan Hall, Chief Executive of The Land Trust, said: ‘We strongly believe that sustainable management of green infrastructure can add to the natural capital of communities, thereby supporting economic regeneration and growth as well as providing important opportunities for improving wellbeing and health.”
Groundwork Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “We know that good green space in and around towns and cities helps keep people physically and mentally well, prepares us for climate change and binds communities together. We also know that public spending reductions are going to make it harder to maintain and improve our parks and open spaces. Whether designing major new settlements or helping communities improve their neighbourhoods, understanding how to value nature and maximise the benefits of green space is hugely important. Planning guidance ensures people have access to the right information but also that investment decisions are fully informed.”
The letter, which has been sent to The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), outlines a number of serious impacts of the loss of guidance, including:
1. Without proper, updated green infrastructure guidance within the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) it will carry very little legal weight in the planning process. Green infrastructure will, in effect, be ‘downgraded’ throughout the planning system. This is of particular concern at a time when the value of GI in tackling pressing issues such as climate change mitigation / adaptation and public health is becoming increasingly well recognised.
2. It undermines the ability of all users of the NPPG to find up to date, relevant information on the key concepts behind green infrastructure.
3. A lack of up to date guidance will hamper efforts to deliver effective, multifunctional green infrastructure on the ground, undermining the ambitions set out in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP).
Noel Farrer, President of the Landscape Institute is available for comment
For further information please contact Sarah Harrison for the Landscape Institute on 07768 372892 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
The Landscape Institute
The Landscape Institute is the royal chartered body for landscape architects. It represents professionals in the UK working across planning, design and the management of urban and rural landscape. The Landscape Institute campaigns to protect conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for public benefit. Through its advocacy programmes it champions landscape, and the landscape profession, in order to inspire great places where people want to live, work and visit. For information about other policy work, including Housing, Water Management, Flooding and Public Health visit www.landscapeinstitute.org/policy and www.landscapeinstitute.co.uk/awards/
The Town and Country Planning Association
The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) is an independent campaigning charity calling for more integrated planning based on the principles of accessibility, sustainability, diversity, and community cohesion. The TCPA puts social justice and the environment at the heart of the debate about planning policy, housing and energy supply. We inspire government, industry and campaigners to take a fresh perspective on major issues including climate change and regeneration.
The Land Trust
The Land Trust is a charity that provides a sustainable and cost effective management solution for open space and green infrastructure. This land can deliver significant community benefits, improving health, social cohesion, providing an educational resource and uplifting the local economy.
The aim of the Trust is to provide long-term sustainable management of open spaces across the country. We have around 2,000 hectares of land in our portfolio and a strong balance sheet to provide financial stability. Our open spaces are a crucial part of the social landscape, delivering a range of significant benefits for residents and businesses. Safe and accessible open space allows communities to come together and individuals to develop and relax through physical activity and recreation. Well designed and maintained open spaces are outdoor classrooms, gyms and theatres. They change lifestyles and improve health and well-being, so we take them seriously. For further information visit www.thelandtrust.org.uk