Our rich and diverse environment is integral to our region’s health and economic prosperity. Understanding and valuing the benefits natural environment provides to people, place and nature, is crucial to how we manage natural assets and the services they provide, such as food, fuel, water regulation, pollination, recreation.
Well-planned and managed, functioning green infrastructure – including rivers, ponds, parks, trees and allotments – help us maximise the benefits and value we derive from our natural assets, including clean air, plentiful water, health and equitable climate.
The Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy (JGIS)2020-2030 has been produced and endorsed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.
With WECA and the West of England councils having each declared a Climate Emergency, the strategy is now more relevant than ever ensuring that our network of multifunctional urban and rural green space responds to the climate and ecological emergency.
Whilst the JGIS was developed by WECA and the West of England councils, its delivery requires the support of many partners and stakeholders.
The B&NES Green Infrastructure Strategy (2013) provides a framework to work with partners and the community to make the most of the benefits that the natural environment can and should be providing for people, places and nature within and beyond the district. This Strategy is currently being reviewed to respond to the WoE JGIS and will set out how B&NES is and will assist delivery of the JGIS Action Plan.
In preparing the JGIS six WoE strategic GI projects have been identified; AONB Link (Cotswold -Mendip Hills), Waterspace (Bristol- Bath), String of Pearls (South Gloucestershire wetlands), Somer Valley Rediscovered, River Frome Reconnected and North Somerset Levels and Moors). A number of these connect and build on current B&NES GI Strategy projects – Bathscape, Waterspace, AONB Linkway and the recently launched Somer Valley Rediscovered.
In addition to the Green Infrastructure Strategy, B&NES Green Space Strategy 2015-2029 sets out standards for quantity, quality and access to green spaces; a set of policies to inform development; and a series of area profiles, and action plans, for each of the five community forum areas that cover the district.
The Council values the natural environment very highly and is committed to addressing the climate and nature emergency, now a core policy in the Council’s new Corporate Strategy, and has the Core Strategy to maintaining and improving it.