There is a growing understanding that successful and thriving communities/regions require a healthy presence of green infrastructure for sustainable economic development and that a healthy environment underpins the wellbeing and prosperity of all our communities in both an urban and rural setting.
Green infrastructure is the network of green and blue spaces (as well as features such as street trees and green roofs) that is planned, designed and managed to:
– promote healthier living
– lessen the impacts of climate change
– improve air quality and water quality
– encourage walking and cycling
– store carbon
– improve biodiversity and ecological resilience
Natural capital describes the economic benefits to people provided by the services the environment provides for free. These include cleaner air, cleaner water, better health, pollination of crops, contact with nature and attractive landscapes.
For green infrastructure to be truly of value it requires cooperation from many parties and quality really matters, for delivering a significant return – it must be strategically planned and invested in. The good news is that green infrastructure provides an extraordinary rate of return: investment of up to £100 million in capital costs and 30-year operating and maintenance costs generates £850 million in health benefits to the community or of savings to the NHS. (Read more here).
Health and wellbeing: Green infrastructure provides multiple health benefits, through improved air quality, reduced stress levels, increased opportunities for informal and formal physical activity and recreation, all contributing to the reduction of limiting long term illness and cost to the health services, reducing days lost to the industry through illness and improving productivity, read more here.
“The mantra for nature – more, bigger, better, joined – is beating a rhythm for change.” – Isabella Tree, author of Wilding