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Making Better Policies and Plans for Green Infrastructure: A Self Assessment Tool

05 Oct 2018

Green Infrastructure Planning Policy Assessment Tool

This project has been developed with Max Hislop of Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network 

The idea is to develop, test and finalise a self assessment tool, complete with guidance for local authorities to use freely to improve the design and wording of policies that address GI functions within their planning documents. The tool has been built from fusing existing research involving the NERC Building with Nature Standards, the IGI standards from Glasgow and Clyde valley GI project and outputs from my Mainstreaming GI project. 

Our focus is on improving strategic and local plans as these are the primary determinants used for planning decisions. It is our view that currently there are significant diffferences in the quality and coverage of policies for green infrastructure across local auhtorities and thus by strengthening these it will help achieve better green infrastructure outcomes. 

Of particular importance is the need to move away from producing a single GI policy to develop separate but linked policies that cover the full range of functions that green infrastructure covers. Furthermore the policies need to be in different chapters of plans thus improving the degree of mainstreaming as all too often people associate green infrastructure with environmental aspects.  

This work is built on the foundation of Max Hislop's work for the Scottish Government    pdf_icon_white.png  but develops this further with a full review of green infrastructure functions, standards, stewardship and mainstreaming components leading to an A-Z matrix.     

The latest version (V3) of the tool was presented on 10 july 2019 that launches version 3 here. pdf_icon_white.png

Version 3 incorporates climate change in the mainstreaming section and has changed the criteria and scoring for A-C to make them easier to assess and input.   

Using this version we have undertaken new reviews of both the NPPF xlsx_icon_white.png and PPW10 xlsx_icon_white.png

Finalised  Policy Assessment Tool version 3.3   contains comprehensive guidance and templates for undertaking your own assessment of plans and policies.   It also has examples of scoring both strong and weak to help you understand the scoring process.  

The following article in town and country planning highlights the development and potential of the tool pdf_icon_white.png

Please get in touch in you wish to discuss your own needs whether it be local plans, GI strategy or neighbourhood plans.  


All comments are greatly appreciated - please help mainstream green infrastructure by adding to the conversation.

Here are my comments regarding potential areas to improve the New Criteria Vision table

1. Policy Plan Mainstreaming; Policy integration- needs to refer to other environmental policy priorities. This includes meeting global, national, regional and local regulatory and policy commitments, such as regarding protected habitats and species (CBD and Aichi targets, Wildlife Act, NPPF), supporting carbon reduction targets and other sustainability commitments (UNFCCC, UN Sustainable Development Goals)

3. Biodiversity habitats; Biodiversity gain; K:"GI must deliver habitat enhancements to increase biodiversity relevant to site" should insert at the end "and taking into account adjacent biogeography"

4. Physical environment - needs to include soil quality

6. Green Space- consider renaming subheading "Meet user needs" to "Inclusive provision" with the additional wording "GI will be designed to provideinclusive access to green spacerecreational facilities for different users & age groups, including visual amenity"

7. Stewardship- consider adding a new subheading "Monitoring and review" with the assessment critieria "Regular (annual?) site appraisal and review of GI delivery is conducted to improve current practice and enhance future benefits"

Best wishes,


Dr. Rosalie Callway

Project Officer

Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning

By: Dr. Rosalie Callway at: 09 Oct 2018, 12:59:51

A possible missing GI function is also Provisioning or productive GI, with assessment criteria as such "GI is designed to promote local economic and social benefits such as through sustainable food production, agroforestry, urban community farming and allotments, landscape amenity"

By: Dr. Rosalie Callway at: 09 Oct 2018, 13:22:22