A ‘Demystifying Green infrastructure Report ‘ was launched today by UK Green Building Council in London. The report attempts to ‘demystify’ the topic and aims to highlight the benefits of green infrastructure not just from the occupant’s perspective but from the developer/client perspective , looking at the business case for implementing effective Green Infrastructure on any project.
The full report and executive summary can be downloaded by clicking here.
This document expands upon the themes in the recent ‘Rethinking the Urban Landscape Exhibition‘ that argues the case to commit investment to ‘green infrastructure’ in the early stages of city and regeneration planning. Curated by The Building Centre and the Landscape Institute, the exhibition sets out to show that with long-term landscape planning cities can become healthier, safer and happier places to be – from reduced risk of flooding, to countering the ‘invisible killer’ of bad air quality, to weaving more enjoyable and inspiring environments throughout the urban fabric.
THE BUSINESS CASE FOR GI
Green Infrastructure is often perceived as an unnecessary cost, and something that must be done because of law or planning policy. However, there are many business opportunities that GI can provide, including cost and time savings. For example, soft landscaping is often cheaper and quicker to install than hard engineered solutions. GI can also create market advantage for clients and developers, by creating more attractive and marketable places and properties, that end-users may even be prepared to pay more for.
There are business risks associated with failure to incorporate GI into a project. Failure may result in delays when applying for planning permission if it cannot be demonstrated that GI has been considered adequately. Inadequate GI can also cause issues with water quality and flooding on the site if not designed correctly, damaging the reputation of the client.
There are several tools available which can support in determining the value provided by new and existing green infrastructure, both in terms of monetary value and the value to the environment. It is important to be able to put a value on GI, to fully understand the benefits it has. The full report examines these main tools and explains how they can be used.
There is increasing European and national policy that supports the need to conserve, enhance and create green infrastructure that delivers the widest range
of benefits for society (sometimes called Ecosystem Services). GI forms part of the National Planning Policy Framework, and has a close relationship with emerging policy on Sustainable Drainage systems (SuDS) and climate change adaptation. It is also key to delivering the aspirations for ecological networks as set out in the Natural Environment White Paper.