Everyone knows that fresh air is good for you, and escaping to wide open green spaces or the coast has health benefits. A recent study by the Institute of Health Equality highlights the growing evidence that green spaces benefit our health and wellbeing.
The RSPB, the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment Management and the Royal Town Planning Institute have published a report highlighting the importance of spatial planning and offering recommendations in order to ensure that development is sustainable and enhances the natural environment.
The report resulted in 12 principles created to highlight effective planning and to minimise damage to the environment-
Recently Defra has published the “Natural Environment White Paper Implementation Update” (or NEWP). This looks at the progress that has been made since the last White Paper that was produced in December 2012 and the steps that the government has made to improve natural environments.
The paper notes a number of improvements including-
A new five-step process has now been developed that can inform effective planning to protect and enhance the value of urban green spaces. Small areas of semi-natural vegetation, farmlands and abandoned farmlands provide important ecosystem services in urban environments.
To illustrate an example of a green infrastructure benefit – many drainage solutions in past years involved the use of large concrete pipes situated underground or concrete, channelised canals. New solutions would look to fully integrate environmental options, such as bio-engineered revetments, nearby ponds, reedbeds and/or swales to create a bio-engineered solution, linking low quality habitats with those of high quality.