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Natural space pledge in new developments to improve health and wellbeing

Published: Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Stroud District Council is set to make a pledge to help preserve Gloucestershire as a green, pleasant and prosperous place to live.

The council is being asked to consider supporting Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership’s proposed Green Infrastructure Pledge, which has five objectives:

  • To commit to sustainable development policies.
  • Utilise appropriate, high-quality green infrastructure, wherever possible, to protect lives, communities, wildlife and economic growth from the likely effects of development and climate change.
  • Deliver healthy, inclusive and safe places, acknowledging the importance of green and blue spaces as essential components to health and happiness of our communities.
  • Take a strategic approach to maintaining and enhancing networks of wildlife habitats and green infrastructure, minimising impacts on the natural environment.
  • Apply high quality green infrastructure principles to the retrofit of buildings as well as to new developments.

Green Infrastructure is the network of natural and semi-natural features within and between villages, towns and cities. These features range from individual street trees, green roofs and private gardens through to parks, rivers and woodlands, transport corridors, verges  and, at the larger scale, wetlands, forests and agricultural land.

They bring environmental and social benefits:

  • Ensuring a more attractive place for people to live, work and visit
  • Giving opportunities for outdoor relaxation, play and access to nature
  • Improving health and well-being – lowering stress levels and providing opportunities for exercise
  • Helping climate change adaptation, for example by flood alleviation and cooling urban heat islands
  • Improving air and water quality
  • Giving space for nature by  improving habitat  for wildlife  within development and providing wildlife corridors and linkages through and between developments
  • Providing sustainable transport routes – for cycling and walking
  • Enabling local food production - in allotments, gardens and through agriculture

And they carry economic benefits too:

  • Attracting inward investment - a more attractive area to business investors and potential residents
  • Attracting increased visitor spend - a more attractive area for tourists and visitors
  • Generating employment - attracting new businesses and residents to the area, increasing office occupancy rates and increasing the number of jobs in the area
  • Saving environmental costs - improving air quality, reducing the urban heat island effect, filtering diffuse pollution, helping to manage flood risk and storing water during droughts
  • Providing health benefits - impacts on health through improved air quality and surroundings which encourage activity and improve mental health and well-being
  • Promoting food production - enabling increased productivity

The pledge will commit partners to develop, and maintain the significant green infrastructure within Gloucestershire by considering it within local authority core business activities and services. If SDC backs it, it will sign up to it at the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership Conference on October 26, along with other partners.

“The Green Infrastructure Pledge recognises the contribution that green infrastructure can make to our health and wellbeing, and it can inform the strategy that we take in to account when planning development for the future,”

said SDC Director of Development Services, Barry Wyatt.

The full district council meeting will take place on Thursday, October 18. It is open to the public and it can also be viewed live online by following the links from https://www.stroud.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/meetings

A full copy of the pledge can be seen at https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2d7e8a_95216fb8249d47ffa674d83f73084eb8.pdf

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