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Impact Case Study REF2021

04 Aug 2023

Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure in the UK: A self-assessment tool putting the natural environment at the heart of strategic and local planning policy in the built environment

This study relates to work undertaken from November 2017-December 2020

Professor Alister Scott’s research has exposed significant neglect of nature in the design and delivery of statutory planning policies, resulting in reduced quantity and quality of green infrastructure (GI) for people, communities, and biodiversity. Scott’s research co-designed and tested a self-assessment policy tool that improved the design and impact of planning policies by mainstreaming GI - translating, integrating, and normalising GI from environmental policy areas into economic and social policy priorities. Scott’s tool has been used by planning authorities to improve GI policy at regional scales e.g., West of England Combined Authority and Essex County Council, crucially going beyond existing national policy requirements, framing GI as an environmental, social, and economic asset. Natural England have used Scott’s research to develop their GI national standards framework and for the current pilot testing phase. The tool is also referenced as a key resource for local authorities by the UK Green Infrastructure Partnership and Building with Nature (UK standard for GI). The tool has also been used to assess English, Scottish, Northern Irish, and Welsh government guidance, exposing significant gaps and vulnerabilities in their GI planning policies


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