Natural England unveils new Green Infrastructure Framework

A major new tool to help towns and cities turn greener has been launched today by Natural England. Aimed at planners and developers, the Green Infrastructure Framework will help increase the amount of green cover to 40% in urban residential areas.

Parks and greenspaces in England deliver an estimated £6.6 billion of health, climate change and environmental benefits every year. But with 80% of people now living in towns and cities, one third of people do not have access to good quality green and blue space within 15 minutes of their home. The government’s Environmental Improvement Plan, published yesterday, includes a commitment that the public should be able to access green space or water, such as woodlands, wetlands, parks and rivers, within a 15-minute walk from their home.

The Green Infrastructure Framework (GIF) provides a structure to analyse where greenspace in urban environments is needed most. It aims to support equitable access to greenspace across the country, with an overarching target for everyone being able to reach good quality greenspace in their local area.

From parks to green roofs, and increased tree cover, the Green Infrastructure Framework will make a significant contribution to nature recovery by embedding nature into new developments. Increasing the extent and connectivity of nature-rich habitats will also help increase wildlife populations, build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and ensure our cities are habitable for the future.

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said:

Using green infrastructure to bring the sights, sounds and smells of nature into every city, town and street will not only create nature abundant, beautiful spaces for everyone to enjoy but will help tackle climate change too.

Natural England is committed to expanding access to nature as the benefits of spending time outdoors are extensive; it reduces stress, increases physical activity and improves wellbeing. We look forward to working with developers, local planning authorities and communities to create a future where nature is on people’s doorsteps to improve the quality of all our lives.

Natural England has worked closely with Defra, government departments, and a 70-strong Advisory Group, made up of universities, representatives from …


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