Natural England unveils new Green Infrastructure Framework

Natural England unveils new Green Infrastructure Framework

  • Urban Nature Recovery Standard – aims to boost nature recovery, create and restore rich wildlife habitats and build resilience to climate change. Incorporating nature-based solutions, including trees and wildflowers, into the design of towns and cities will increase carbon capture, prevent flooding and reduce temperatures during heatwaves.

  • Urban Greening Factor (UGF) for England – This planning tool improves the provision of green infrastructure and increases the level of greening in urban environments. The standard is set at 0.4 for residential development, which means there is a target in place for approximately 40% of residential developments to have green and blue spaces, green roofs or green walls. When adopted by a local planning authority it provides clarity about the quantity and quality of green infrastructure required to secure planning approval in a major new development. The Greater London Authority is already applying this principle.

  • Urban Tree Canopy Cover Standard – promotes an increase in tree canopy cover in urban environments. Trees are vital for capturing carbon and can mitigate flood risk as they absorb excess water during flooding incidents. The standard sets out that major residential and commercial development should be designed to meet locally agreed targets.

  • Accessible Greenspace Standards – promote access to good quality green and blue space within 15 minutes’ walk from home. The People and Nature Survey published by Natural England found that 82% of adults agree that being in nature makes them very happy over but one third of people in England do not have access to green space within this distance. The Framework includes an award-winning mapping tool that can help to identify places where green space is needed most. The government has already used the tool to ensure the £9 million Levelling Up Parks fund reaches low-income areas with limited access to green space.

  • Green Infrastructure Strategy – This standard supports the National Planning Policy Framework’s policy that local authorities should develop strategic policies for green infrastructure. At an area wide scale, the Green Infrastructure Standard will see Local Authorities develop Delivery Plans to support the creation and enhancement of new and existing greenspaces.

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