Natural England
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A Natural Development

Focus on Green Infrastructure as Natural England launches developer partnership at the 2009 Thames Gateway Forum.

Natural England has announced a new partnership with major developers to help deliver a higher quality natural environment in our towns and cities.

Launched today (3 November) at the 2009 Thames Gateway Forum in London, 'A Natural Development' aims to demonstrate the contribution the natural environment can make to urban regeneration. The partnership, already supported by key developers from Arup, Barking Riverside, Land Securities and Countryside Properties, will look to highlight best practice and raise the standard of design and delivery for green infrastructure.

Pilot studies are now being established at the Barking Riverside and Lodge Hill developments in the Thames Gateway and a series of seminars will take place throughout 2010, exploring how best to value, design and create quality green infrastructure and to further engage developers with the scheme.

Poul Christensen, Acting Chair of Natural England said: “'A Natural Development' is an important step in ensuring the delivery of a high quality natural environment in our towns and cities. Green infrastructure - which includes green spaces, street trees, green roofs and urban parks - has often been seen as only decorative. The reality is that it transforms city life. Investment in greening England’s cities would bring a huge range of environmental, health and economic benefits.”

'A Natural Development' is looking to ensure that green infrastructure is woven into urban development, either by incorporating it into new developments or by adapting existing buildings or areas, to deliver locally distinctive places that work with nature to deliver a wide range of benefits: for health and wellbeing, climate change adaptation and reconnecting people with nature.

Peter Head, Arup director and champion for innovation and enterprise in the Thames Gateway said, “I am very supportive of developing understanding of how important green infrastructure is for economic vitality, good health and happiness. We can bring these benefits to existing communities as part of improved low carbon place making and enable people to live in harmony with and enjoy the natural world. This should be central to all low carbon housing retrofit.”

Andrew Day, Director for Sustainability at Countryside Properties PLC said: “At Countryside Properties PLC we add value through the incorporation of green infrastructure into our schemes. We do this because high quality public spaces and parks create economic, social and environmental value. Accordingly, we support Natural England's project as it aligns with our approach in the delivery of sustainable communities."

Poul Christensen concluded, “'A Natural Development' presents a great opportunity for the development and environment sectors to work closely together in greening urban development. Green spaces transform urban life by cooling our cities, filtering out pollutants, improving people’s health, supporting wildlife and creating attractive places to live and work in. Incorporating green infrastructure into the very core of spatial planning and urban design would deliver countless benefits for our cities and their inhabitants. ”

To keep people up to date on A Natural Development’s activities and to share best practice please visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/naturaldevelopment.

For further information contact the Natural England press office on 0845 603 9953; press@naturalengland.org.uk for out of hours call 07970 098005. For further information about Natural England, visit the website at www.naturalengland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

For more information about 'A Natuiral Development' see www.naturalengland.org.uk/naturaldevelopment

  • Natural England is involved in the delivery of 95 green infrastructure projects across the country, from Plymouth and Bristol in the South West, to the urban fringe of Darlington and Heaton, Newcastle in the North East.

  • A wooded park can filter out 85% of air pollutants and a street lined with trees up to 70%. People who live within 500 m of a quality green space are 24% more active. Increasing exercise levels of just 1 per cent of the UK’s population would save lives and deliver nearly £1.5bn in health care savings. In heat-waves urban greening can cool the city by as much as 40C, while green roofs slow down the run-off of stormwater into our already overburdened drainage system.

  • Stephen Neal, Senior Development Manager at Land Securities said: “Land Securities supports Natural England's initiative promoting green infrastructure and sees the provision of green infrastructure as a key driver towards the realisation of successful new places and communities.”

About Natural England

Natural England is the government’s independent advisor on the natural environment. Our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public

  • We establish and care for England’s main wildlife sites, ensuring that over 3,500 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.

  • We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Marine Conservation Zones, and advising widely on their conservation.

  • We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England.

  • We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats. We have recently committed £6m to develop wetland areas and have detailed biodiversity action plans covering 75% of England’s species

  • We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

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