19th February 2016
Today, the House of Lords Built Environment Committee has published a report expressing its concerns that the short-sighted Government housing policy will not meet objectives.
The committee emphasises the importance of delivering a better built environment, is concerned about the quality of new developments and the risk of housing delivery being prioritised at the expense of other elements of the built environment. Therefore, the focus needs to be on building better places, not just on the quantity. In its written and oral evidence to the Committee, the Land Trust stressed the important role that green infrastructure plays within the planning process and sustainable development of the built environment as well as a need for more joined up approaches between the health and planning sectors.
Euan Hall, CEO of the Land Trust said: ‘I am really pleased that the Committee recognises that the housing policy does not go far enough in relation to green infrastructure and that it has taken our views into account.
As we stated, well maintained green infrastructure is essential for good development and needs to be considered on the same level as grey and blue infrastructure (transport, highways, utilities etc.).
Our experience shows that integrating green infrastructure into the built environment designs from the outset adds significant value to the end product as well as bringing significant economic, health, social and environmental benefits, reducing costs to the public purse.
Our recent research on the social value of our green spaces, reinforces this message, showing that our green spaces alone contribute approximately £53 million to the health sector per year. So, building better quality places also has a positive impact on other aspects of society.
I am however disappointed that there is a recommendation for reintroducing the ‘brownfield first’ approach. Some brownfield land has far greater environmental value than green field, and I think that a land use strategy is needed to ensure the right land is used for the right type of activity in the right locations.
I hope that Government takes on board the views of the Built Environment Committee in relation to green infrastructure and provides a mechanism for coordinating better approaches to developments.”
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