Barber on ... green infrastructure coming of age

We are in a real dilemma. Parks and green spaces are facing the biggest cuts in history but we have never known so much about the benefits our green spaces provide to society.

We may not be plagued with industrial accidents or the disease and degradation of Victorian times, but we are plagued by issues such as childhood obesity and stress in the workplace, which are placing an ever-increasing strain on our medical services.

A coalition pledge to grow the NHS budget slightly each year already looks meaningless against the exponential rise in demand, and the increasing cost of medical treatment. If dilemmas have horns, planners and managers are firmly impaled on them now. They have never heard so loud a rallying cry, but to what action?

We must play the health card, in the context of green infrastructure. There was a time when those using the term "green infrastructure" could easily be challenged to say what it meant beyond "green space". However, I have now seen the Liverpool green infrastructure strategy and think it is a masterpiece. It confirms the Mersey Forest Campaign and its Manchester University proteges as a green infrastructure think-tank par excellence. It could not be written as a green spaces strategy and contain the same breadth and depth of thinking and of action.

The strategy identifies interventions that can help address the environmental and socio-economic needs of the city. It notes that low levels of green infrastructure occur in areas with a higher incidence of heart disease and mental health problems. It concludes that the most effective actions will concentrate on making the best use of the existing green infrastructure resource through appropriate management.

It values this resource at £8bn. I do not know what the prospects are for an underfunded resource now needing investment to maintain its asset value. Implementing the green infrastructure strategy will be a severe test of political resolve in the light of today's cuts. But read it now and be inspired.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.

Sargent's solutions - the benefits of CPD for your business

Sargent's solutions - the benefits of CPD for your business

Continual learning is an essential part of the job and professionals should embed it in their work process, says Alan Sargent.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs
Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 - the winners!

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2017 winners.

Contracts & Tenders

Products & Kit Resources