Partners seek clarity over urban green infrastructure body's remit and funding

Defra's proposals for promoting rooftop and community gardens raise questions over ministerial leadership and resources.

The Green Infrastructure Partnership aims to help communities in urban areas - image: Frosts Landscape Construction
The Green Infrastructure Partnership aims to help communities in urban areas - image: Frosts Landscape Construction

Plans for the Green Infrastructure Partnership took shape last week, but green-space professionals said they remain confused about its role and funding.

The partnership - a keystone of the natural environment white paper - aims to help communities in urban areas create rooftop swards, community gardens and living walls.

It draws together groups such as GreenSpace, Natural England, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Capel Manor College, the Landscape Institute, the Construction Industry Research & Information Association and food organisation Sustain.

But attendees at the first meeting voiced concern about the group's remit. Some were also sceptical of its power, given there is no Government funding.

Defra policy adviser Ed Dyson said: "Time, commitment and enthusiasm - those are the resources. The fact that people have shown a willingness to participate is a good sign. The commitment is there to make something happen."

GLA urban greening team leader Peter Massini said: "There doesn't seem to be much leadership. Green infrastructure can get lost in vague words and ideas rather than identifying specific outcomes. But (environment minister Richard) Benyon said encouraging things."

Capel Manor chief executive Steve Dowbiggin said a cross-Government minister was needed as leader because at present policy tended to go from ministry to ministry.

On funding, Landscape Institute policy director Paul Lincoln said issues could be overcome by building multifunctional spaces such as playing fields that manage storm water to deliver "more for the same budget".

Defra landscape strategy and policy head Ian Barratt said: "Partners are whoever wants to work with us on research and promoting green infrastructure. It will initially run for up to two years."

Green Infrastructure Partnership Aims

- See how existing green infrastructure in England meets communities' needs.

- Investigate the scope for improvements and look at barriers to change.

- See how locals and planners can be helped to create new green infrastructure.

- Show the social, economic and environmental benefits of green infrastructure

- Help people to tot up the costs and benefits of investing.

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

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer