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New guidance supports Committee recommendation to 'put nature at the heart of the economy'

Tuesday 17th July 2012

Leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), has welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee report, on the Natural Environment White Paper, calling for Government to put nature at the heart of the economy, and in particular the recognition it gives to the role of planning in delivering many of the White Paper’s objectives.

The TCPA and The Wildlife Trusts, working in partnership with a wide range of organisations, published last week Planning for a healthy environment: good practice for green infrastructure and biodiversity’, which directly supports the Committee’s recommendation that the ‘Government must ensure that local planning bodies finalise their local plans which should demonstrate a link between the principle of protecting and enhancing nature and planning decisions.’ Ensuring green infrastructure is protected, restored, created and managed through the strategic planning process, and specific planning decisions, is at the heart of this guidance.

Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive, said:

“The planning system in England has a crucial delivery role to play in the protection and restoration of the natural environment. Our green and blue spaces provide a wide range of economic, social and environmental services without which society could not function.  Our guidance, ‘Planning for a healthy environment’ re-emphasises that the natural environment should be at the heart of all planning decisions and sets out the opportunities for enhancing the well-being of communities through green infrastructure and open space.”

In March, the National Planning Policy Framework gave local authorities a year in which to get their local plans in place, embedding policies which deliver strategic green infrastructure to protect important wildlife sites and species in local and neighbourhood plans.  This guide has been designed to offer advice on how green infrastructure and wildlife can be protected and enhanced through Local Plan policies and development management decisions, working within those policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. 

Led by The Wildlife Trusts and TCPA, the guide has been prepared with input from statutory and non statutory organisations with expertise in planning green infrastructure and biodiversity.  Endorsed by more than 30 organisations, it summarises the latest policy drivers; distils the best approaches and good practice; and signposts sources of further detailed information.

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