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Green infrastructure (GI) is an important component of the GCV Green Network.

The Partnership is working to remove the barriers to effective delivery of green infrastructure in the built environment.

Our current work is founded on many studies and analyses undertaken by the Partnership to build an understanding of what urban GI is, and an assessment of its potential role in delivering green network benefits.

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Infrastructure (GI) is green and blue space which has been planned, designed and managed to provide identified functions. In urban areas these GI features include domestic gardens, street trees, sports pitches, civic spaces, green roofs and green walls.

The relationship between the Green Network and Green Infrastructure:


Our Costing the CSGN study completed by the Partnership estimated that approximately 35% of the capital cost of the delivery of the GCV Green Network is associated with GI in the built environment. It is essential that we ensure that delivery of Green Infrastructure is mainstreamed in all new built development and retrofitted into existing urban areas where it can provide most benefit.

Green Infrastructure Policies in the CSGN

The Planning System has a crucial role to play in ensuring that good GI is routinely delivered in new development. It is therefore important that planning policy relevant to GI is robust and consistent and clearly communicates to planning applicants what is expected from their development with regard to GI.

In 2018, the Partnership completed a study on local authorities’ GI planning policies within the CSGN area. This review revealed that GI policies are not robust, comprehensive or consistent across these 19 local authority Local Development Plans (and associated Supplementary Guidance).

However, it also identified that if individual policies could be ‘cherry-picked’ and brought together with other selected policies then a suite of robust and comprehensive GI policies could be collated. Consequently a suite of exemplar GI policies were fashioned and have formed the basis for the Partnership’s ‘Planning for Green Infrastructure’ brochure.

Planning for Green Infrastructure

Together with the CSGN Trust, we have launched the Planning for Green Infrastructure brochure, providing a guide to exemplar Green Infrastructure (GI) planning policies.

The planning system has an important role to play in safeguarding existing Green Infrastructure and securing delivery of connected, accessible and well designed new GI. Our brochure highlights the key policies to help achieve this.

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Download our latest GI Policy Brochure here >>

Green Infrastructure Policy Assessment Tool

The GI policy review also developed a methodology for policy assessment that proved of interest to others. This method has been developed into a GI Policy Assessment Tool which allows users to assess the robustness and comprehensiveness of existing or proposed GI policies. The development of the tool has been published in Planning Theory and Practice.

Analysis of GI Policies in National Planning Documents
The GI Policy Assessment Tool has been further developed in collaboration with Professor Alister Scott of Northumbria University under his NERC funded Knowledge Exchange Fellowship on the Mainstreaming of GI. The latest version of the tool has been used to assess the how robust and how comprehensive the GI policies are in the English National Planning and Performance Framework and the Planning Policy for Wales. The results of this assessment will be available here shortly.

You can use the GI Policy Assessment Tool to assess the quality of GI policies in local and strategic plans.


Previous Work

Over the last decade the Partnership has completed GI Design Studies in a range of urban locations across the GCV region which aimed to present options to planners and developers about how multi-functional GI can be integrated into new and existing developments.

From these studies we were able to more clearly express what urban GI is and the functions it should perform. Based on this understanding we promoted our ‘Integrated Green Infrastructure (IGI) Approach’.

Discussions and applications of the IGI Approach with planners and developers (e.g. Maidenhill) have revealed some of the technical, procedural and perceptual barriers to delivery of GI in new development.