Green Infrastructure (GI) incorporates all types of open spaces, water bodies and other environmental features, in both urban and rural areas. This includes parks and gardens, allotments and playing fields, cemeteries and churchyards, woodlands, rivers and wetlands. Strategically planned, appropriately located, well designed and managed GI performs many different functions which in turn deliver multiple environmental, social, health and economic benefits for local communities.
eftec – Centre for Economic & Social Research Sheffield Hallam University report for Defra & Natural England – GI Contribution to Economic Growth
Benefits of a well planned and managed GI include:
• Improved image: helping to attract businesses and inward investment
• Greater sense of place and pride in the local area
• Mitigates for the effects of climate change, e.g. flood alleviation, carbon storage, cooling urban heat islands
• Increased biodiversity by providing habitats for wildlife
• Health and well-being benefits through places for outdoor relaxation, play, recreation and exercise
• Encourages active and sustainable travel by providing cycle and walking routes
• Increased local food and renewable energy production
• Reduced crime and antisocial behaviour.
In the Tees Valley;
The Tees Valley Unlimited Economic and Regeneration Statement of Ambition (2011) recognises that “efforts to promote economic growth must be matched by a continued improvement in the Tees Valley’s quality of place so that it appeals to prospective workers, residents and visitors; helps to further investor confidence and provides attractive settings for new development. Development and effective management of green infrastructure will play a fundamental role in achieving this, as well as directly supporting the development of a low carbon economy”.
Tees Valley Green Infrastructure Strategy provides an overarching framework for strategic green Infrastructure planning and management. Local green infrastructure strategies and delivery plans have been produced by Stockton Borough Counciland Darlington Borough Council and Hartlepool Borough Council.