Planning for a healthy and natural environment: new good practice guidance
Published by Fiona Mannion for TCPA in Environment and also in Communities, Local Government
New practical guidance for planners, launched today, is set to provide local authorities with all they need to ensure local plans deliver a network of wildlife-rich places in their area.
'Planning for a healthy environment: good practice for green infrastructure and biodiversity’, has been published by The Wildlife Trusts and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), in partnership with a wide range of organisations. It provides guidance for practitioners to ensure nature is taken into account when shaping local areas.
The planning system in England has a central role to play in the protection and restoration of the natural environment. Ensuring green infrastructure1 is protected, restored, created and managed through the strategic planning process, and specific planning decisions, is at the heart of this guidance.
The natural environment plays a fundamental role in sustaining our collective future. It is widely recognised that people’s connection with nature can increase their health and well-being. The natural environment also provides a range of additional economic, social and environmental services without which society could not function.
Led by The Wildlife Trusts and TCPA, the guide has been prepared with input from statutory and non statutory organisations with expertise in planning green infrastructure and biodiversity. Endorsed by more than 30 organisations, it summarises the latest policy drivers; distils the best approaches and good practice; and signposts sources of further detailed information.
The guide will be launched at an event in the House of Commons, jointly hosted by the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and George Hollingbery MP, Communities and Local Government Select Committee Member. Speakers include Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts and .Dr Hugh Ellis, Chief Planner at the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA).
George Hollingbery MP, said: “Sustainability is at the heart of the new National Planning Policy Framework and Green Infrastructure will play a key role in achieving that sustainability.
“This new publication will be an invaluable tool for those involved in the planning process and is to be heartily welcomed.
“In publishing this guide, TCPA and The Wildlife Trusts have made a valuable contribution to creating a better planning system that will help look after all our interests for the long term.”
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, said: “Humankind has finally come to realise that the natural world does not just inspire awe and wonder, and lift our spirits, but that it also helps sustain our very existence. Green infrastructure gives us water, food, fuel, medicines, and helps to clean the air, and we now understand the economic cost of getting things wrong. That is why we have to take it into account in future decisions about what we develop and where.
"I greatly welcome the new guidance on green infrastructure and biodiversity which The Wildlife Trusts and the Town and Country Planning Association have produced. I know it will be a practical guide to planners and others as they seek to find a better balance in the way in which we undertake sustainable development while seeking to protect and enhance the wonder that we see around us, and which lie beneath our seas, for future generations."
Stephanie Hilborne, said: “The planning system must live up to its potential role in creating vital ecological networks and wildlife-rich places - where people want to live. In producing this guidance, we have worked with more than 60 organisations to share best practice and encourage planners and developers to take a positive and visionary approach.
“Wildlife Trusts are responsible for advising on and managing green space in and around developments throughout England. We help to deliver practical solutions that protect and enhance the natural environment and provide a better quality of life for individuals and communities.”
Dr Hugh Ellis, Chief Planner at the TCPA, said: “The guide re-emphasises that the natural environment should be at the heart of all planning decisions and sets out the opportunities for enhancing the well-being of communities through green infrastructure and open space.”
In March, the National Planning Policy Framework gave local authorities a year in which to get their local plans in place, embedding policies which deliver strategic green infrastructure to protect important wildlife sites and species in local and neighbourhood plans. This guide has been designed to offer advice on how green infrastructure and wildlife can be protected and enhanced through Local Plan policies and development management decisions, working within those policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.