North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Challenges and Choices Part 1: Challenges for the Future

Local Plan 2038: Challenges for the Future

Challenge 5: Protecting important green and blue spaces

North Somerset is home to a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife areas such as hills, woodlands, wetlands, rhynes and coast. Many areas or species are protected by legislation, but there are also more local areas which people value for just a bit of fresh air, to walk the dog, listen to the birds, have a picnic or kick a ball.

Uphill 2015 001Our protected areas include:

  • The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding National Beauty
  • European Wildlife Site (RAMSAR Severn Estuary)
  • Historic Parks and gardens
  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • National and local nature reserves
  • Ancient woodland
  • Protected species and their habitats (such as bats and newts)

That character of our villages and towns make them attractive and sought-after places to live. Protecting and enhancing these treasured assets and features maintains these special places for future generations.

All green spaces are valued in their own right including urban parks and green spaces, as well as the protected areas listed above, for sustainability reasons, recreation and for people’s health and wellbeing.

The recent Covid-19 restrictions have highlighted how important it is for us all to have safe and easy access to open green spaces for exercise and for wildlife. This includes urban parks, local footpaths, parks and countryside. Many of us have recently used Ashton Court and Leigh Woods within North Somerset for exercise in the way that Worlebury Woods, Uphill or the Mendips or other local footpaths will have been used by others.

Our coastline attracts many visitors to our resorts but walks and cycle rides along the coast are important for residents and visitors alike. Rivers and ponds and the wetland areas in North Somerset provide homes to wildlife and often provide an important recreation resource.

The challenge we face is to ensure we protect this valuable resource for future generations but also to incorporate green infrastructure into new developments and ensure we all have fair access to open green spaces.

QUESTION 8: We have come to value our local footpaths and green space more since Covid-19. How can we ensure that future residents benefit from access to green spaces?