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  6. Initiative launched to help green urban areas

Initiative launched to help green urban areas

Communities will be helped to introduce more green space into urban areas in England under a new scheme announced by Environment Minister Richard Benyon.

This initiative, known as the Green Infrastructure Partnership, will encourage communities to make more innovative use of existing ‘grey’ infrastructure to create rooftop gardens, small community gardens and ‘ living walls’.

The minister said: “Green spaces are not only important for our health and well-being; they also create places where people want to invest, generating new jobs and businesses. 

“We’re used to thinking about drab, grey infrastructure – the roads, drains, power lines and other things on which we all depend. It is now time to place the same level of emphasis on our green infrastructure.

“This Partnership launch will help local neighbourhoods to do just that – be it by planting over a dull grey wall or designing a garden in the sky on an unused roof.

“It will provide communities with the expertise they need to bring the countryside into the city and create places where people want to live and work.”

The new Green Infrastructure Partnership will be made up of planning professionals, landscape architects and environmental interest groups alongside organisations such as Natural England, the Landscape Institute and the Environment Agency.

The partnership will initially run for up to two years. It will:

  • look at the condition of green infrastructure across England and how it meets communities’ needs
  • investigate the scope for improvements, and look at the barriers to green infrastructure in existing areas to meet future challenges such as climate change
  • consider how local communities, planners and decision-makers can best be supported in designing and developing green infrastructure
  • demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits that well designed green infrastructure can provide
  • help people to quantify the costs and benefits of investing in green infrastructure and make the case for new projects.

The launch of the partnership coincided with the publication of ‘Local Green Infrastructure: helping communities make the most of their landscape’ produced by the Landscape Institute.

Jo Watkins, president of the Landscape Institute, said: “We want to inspire everyone to make changes in their neighbourhoods by thinking about what’s offered by the natural environment. Harnessing nature and making better use of our limited supply of land can promote sustainable economic development and open up new employment opportunities.”

Find out more about the Green Infrastructure Partnership.


Roger Milne

13 October 2011