Liverpool City Council calculates green infrastructure worth £8bn

Liverpool has become one of the first councils to launch a green infrastructure strategy that takes a root-and-branch look at every green space in the city, from parks to private gardens.

The strategy was drawn up to make the most of sustainable management of the city's green spaces, trees and waterways. Liverpool City Council worked with the primary care trust to determine the importance of green space to the economy and health and found that green infrastructure was an £8bn asset.

Paul Scragg, manager of parks and green spaces, explained that everything - from Croxteth Park to a single street tree - had come under scrutiny. Green infrastructure planning, he said, went beyond traditional green space strategies by focusing on the benefits that can be gained from the local natural resources.

"This is quite unique," he said. "Seeing it all set out taught us things about the city and its character that we didn't know."

He added that a large amount of the green infrastructure was smaller areas or those in private ownership, but still had a large impact on the city in terms of climate change and flood alleviation.

"We have always focused on the land (the council) managed such as Sefton Park but there is a lot more that influences temperature ranges in the city. This strategy has enabled us to look at the city from a holistic green infrastructure way, as opposed to purely focusing on the land we control."

He said it was too early to say how the information would inform policy because there was so much data, but he was impressed at how much had been collected. "It is information that we never had before and is a vast database to help as we go forward.

"This will help make future strategies more locally focused on neighbourhoods across Merseyside as well as city-wide."

Parks consultant Alan Barber said: "This is a brilliant integration of planning and management that impacts on a whole city. Green infrastructure puts multifunctionality in the spotlight and prioritises the integration of green spaces with urban water. Often the opportunities to get more value from such an intervention are not taken."

- See www.ginw.co.uk/liverpool

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

- Sixty-two per cent of the city of Liverpool is made up of green infrastructure.

- Domestic gardens are the largest type of this group, making up 16 per cent.

- The richest areas of Liverpool have 18 per cent more green infrastructure than the city's most deprived parts.

- Green infrastructure is an £8bn asset.


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