Biodiversity guide looks to educate planners
A new guide has been published to help planners better account for nature and understand its economic value to communities.
Planning for a healthy environment: good practice for green infrastructure and biodiversity has been designed to offer advice on how green infrastructure and wildlife can be protected and enhanced.
Published by The Wildlife Trusts and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), the guide it summarises the latest policy drivers; distils the best approaches and good practice; and signposts sources of further detailed information.
It also outlines the "central role" the planning system in England has to play in the protection and restoration of the natural environment.
In March, for instance, the National Planning Policy Framework was launched in a bid to simplify the planning process. Sustainable development has been placed at the heart of the system.
TCPA chief planner Dr Hugh Ellis said the guide "sets out the opportunities for enhancing the well-being of communities through green infrastructure and open space".
Though led by the TCPA and The Wildlife Trusts, the guide has been endorsed by more than 30 organisations.
It will be launched at an event in the House of Commons, jointly hosted by Hilary Benn, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and George Hollingbery, Communities and Local Government Select Committee Member.
Benn said: "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."