Press release

The planning system is key to delivering greener, better places

Better partnerships and evidence are the key to deriving greater benefits from green places, Natural England will say today (25 September).

At a conference organised in London by the Green Infrastructure Partnership, speakers from the worlds of planning, environment and local government will meet to assess the powerful international evidence about the value of green infrastructure and will discuss how this evidence can be used to influence planning decisions and so create better places.

Recent research has overwhelmingly indicated that places with high quality green infrastructure – such as public parks, green spaces, green roofs and street trees – are better for our physical and mental health, are less likely to flood, and attract more investment. Yet often the value of green infrastructure is not factored into planning decisions, the seminar will hear today.

The conference will consider how the English planning system can be used to support and maintain the delivery of green infrastructure more creatively in the long term, looking at what evidence and partnerships are needed.

Martin Moss, senior adviser on green infrastructure at Natural England who is speaking at the seminar, said: “From combating air pollution and climate change to improving people’s mental and physical health, green infrastructure provides a whole range of beneficial services. We need a more creative approach for planning green infrastructure in the long term, making better use of partnerships and evidence, if we are to continue to benefit from these services. Today’s event is an important part of how we can achieve this.”

Challenges around health and wellbeing, economic growth, climate change adaptation and developing a resilient natural environment mean that the need for green infrastructure is increasingly being seen as an essential element of sensible infrastructure planning for our cities, towns and the wider landscape.

Julia Thrift, organiser of the Green Infrastructure Partnership and Head of Events at the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), said: “There is now overwhelming evidence that green infrastructure is as important to the success of our towns and cities as other infrastructure such as transport or communications. We need to communicate this evidence better in the planning system so that the people who make the decisions understand that high quality green infrastructure is a vital component of a thriving place, not a ‘nice to have’ optional extra.”

Natural England is among the partner organisations of the Green Infrastructure Partnership and today’s seminar is being hosted by the TCPA at its offices in Carlton House Terrace. The event is kindly sponsored by LDA Design.

Others speaking at the event include Gideon Amos OBE, Chris Shipley CBE, Professor Robert Tregay (Chairman, LDA Design) and Richard Harrington (CEO, Buckingham and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership).

Notes for editors

For more information please contact Adam Elwell, Senior Communications Adviser, Natural England, email: , telephone: 07879113450.

About Natural England

Natural England is the government’s conservation adviser and has a statutory purpose to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development. It has responsibility for ensuring that England’s unique natural environment, including its flora and fauna, land and seascapes, geology and soils, is protected and improved.

Natural England is a statutory consultee in the planning system for development plans, Environmental Impact Assessments, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Habitats Regulations Assessments, Local Development Orders and for certain planning applications relating to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and best and most versatile agricultural land. We may also be consulted on a range of other development proposals. In addition, Natural England is a competent authority, issuing consents where there will be impacts on protected species and sites.

About the Green Infrastructure Partnership

The Green Infrastructure Partnership (GIP) is a rapidly growing network of more than 350 people and organisations that support the creation, enhancement and promotion of green infrastructure (GI) in the UK to improve quality of life, health, ecological diversity, resilience to climate change and economic attractiveness. Membership is free – to join email:

The GIP enables people to share research, innovation, news and best practice via newsletters and events. Its strategic focus is to influence key decision-makers by ensuring they have appropriate evidence about the value of GI to inform their decisions.

The GIP was launched by Defra in October 2011 as an outcome of the government’s Natural Environment White Paper, The Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature. In April 2014 the TCPA took on the management of the GIP after Defra withdrew. The TCPA receives no government funding for the GIP and is grateful for sponsorship and in-kind support from: Landscape Institute; Land Trust and Natural England. For more information about the GIP please contact Nneka Opara: