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Green infrastructure - a win-win solution for sustainable economic recovery in the West Midlands


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An explanation of the economic benefits of good green infrastructure by Bill Heslegrave, Regional Director, Forestry Commission. This presentation was given in the 'economy and environment' workshop at the West Midlands Regional Observatory's Annual Conference, 20th October 2009.

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Green infrastructure - a win-win solution for sustainable economic recovery in the West Midlands

  2. 2. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>What is Green Infrastructure (GI)? </li></ul>The network of green spaces and natural elements that intersperse and connect our cities, towns and villages. It is the open spaces, waterways, gardens, woodlands, green corridors, wildlife habitats, street trees, natural heritage and open countryside. From the Green Infrastructure Prospectus for the West Midlands : Regional Assembly 2006
  3. 3. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>The benefits of GI extend beyond the environment to social and economic – and link these three pillars of society together </li></ul><ul><li>GI is a multi-functional resource, underpinning sustainability and directly benefiting the economy and enhancing quality of life </li></ul>
  4. 4. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>‘ Economic success dependent on investment in the natural environment’ </li></ul><ul><li>A press release headline on 15 th October for ‘No Charge? Valuing the Natural Environment’ – a major report by Natural England </li></ul>
  5. 5. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>What are the economic benefits from GI? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enhancing quality of place – increasing property and land values </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A green setting for investment and economic growth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental transformation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provides jobs through the environmental economy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for education and training </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of natural resources such as wood </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>Leading to :- </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Improvements in health and well being </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Helping to build sustainable communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enabling essential contact between people and nature </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sustaining environmental tourism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sources of renewable heat and energy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits SANDWELL - Sheepwash
  8. 8. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits Sandwell Valley
  9. 9. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits WALSALL
  10. 10. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits FOREST OF MERCIA - Hednesford
  11. 11. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits STOKE - Westport
  12. 12. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits STOKE - Central Forest Park
  13. 13. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits STOKE - Park Hall
  14. 14. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits Tree Planting in Stoke
  15. 15. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>To achieve these benefits we must pursue key objectives : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Raise awareness of GI’s economic benefits and the linkages to social and environmental benefits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporate GI consistently at the heart of the planning system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Embed GI as an integral part of growth and development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase investment in GI and develop long term funding arrangements </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>And seek to implement Key Actions : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Co-ordinate GI work of environmental organisations and to further leadership </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a Framework Plan and associated Action Plan for GI in the region </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Key organisations involved in or linked to the economy must embrace GI </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence building, research and demonstration/promotion of best practice </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><ul><ul><li>Develop GI strategies for growth points and major development areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GI must be factored into decisions on land values, urban structures, housing densities, etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Improve connections and accessibility of GI with local communities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate the importance and value of extensive, well planned urban tree networks </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. GI - Sustainable, Economic Benefits <ul><li>Questions for this Workshop : </li></ul><ul><li>1. Do you agree that GI can provide economic benefits and is relevant to economic recovery? If not, why not? </li></ul><ul><li>2. If you do, do you wish to add to or amend those benefits set out in the chapter and this presentation? </li></ul><ul><li>3. Are the actions listed the right ones? Are they achievable? Are there other priority actions? </li></ul>