Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

CS9: Green Infrastructure

CS9: Green Infrastrucutre

The existing network of green infrastructure will be safeguarded, improved and enhanced by further provision, ensuring it is a multi-functional, accessible network which promotes healthy lifestyles, maintains and improves biodiversity and landscape character and contributes to climate change objectives.

Priority will be given to:

1) The protection and enhancement of the formal parks and gardens originating from the Victorian era.

2) The protection of trees in woodlands and urban areas for public amenity and climate change mitigation.

3) The promotion of the north slopes of the Mendip Hills AONB as sub-regional corridors for biodiversity, recreation and landscape retention.

4) The promotion of the Congresbury Yeo, River Banwell, Somerset Levels and Moors, and Grumplepill Rhyne as local corridors for biodiversity and landscape enhancement.

5) The protection of Wildlife Sites.

6) The connection of disjointed woodlands around the Wraxall/Failand ridge.

7) The continued development of a network of green spaces, water bodies, paths and cycleways in and around the urban areas.

8) The upgrading and extension of the public rights of way network including improved connectivity to areas of green infrastructure outside North Somerset.

9) The provision of strategically significant green spaces in association with all areas of development.

A Green Infrastructure Strategy will be prepared in support of green infrastructure policies.

This policy contributes towards meeting the objectives of Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development and Planning

Policy Guidance 17: Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation.


Green infrastructure is the integrated network of multi-functional spaces within and linking urban and rural environments which has significant environmental, social and economic benefits.

Green infrastructure, particularly if properly planned and integrated into development, can enhance the townscape and visual amenity, promote a sense of place and community identity, and improve the health and sense of well-being of people. Parks, sports fields and play space are clearly beneficial to health. Networks of green spaces and corridors provide opportunities for recreation, walking and cycling and also benefit wildlife by conserving and enhancing habitats, and providing buffers from development to important wildlife sites and watercourses.

Weston high st from Italian gardens

Trees are very important elements, greatly contributing to the value of green infrastructure regarding landscape quality, amenity and the environment. Retention of trees and tree planting, together with other green space, can help to combat climate change and flooding, by absorbing CO2 and moisture and reducing excessive run off. In urban areas such provision can also have a welcome cooling effect in summer, through providing shade and promoting evaporation.

Attenuation ponds and other sustainable drainage systems, together with larger water bodies, are also valuable aspects of green infrastructure, often having great ecological and landscape value, recreational and educational benefit.

Clear priorities will be established through the overarching Green Infrastructure Strategy which will incorporate local open space standards and requirements for developments to contribute towards the delivery of a comprehensive network of green infrastructure. In particular, the strategy will recognise the need to integrate green infrastructure within the urban extension and to ensure that all communities have access to quality green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure in the rural areas and on the urban-rural fringe is also important, particularly where it supports a vibrant rural economy and enhances facilities available to the existing villages particularly around recreation, walking and cycling.

The Core Strategy approach

Policy CS9 reflects the importance of green infrastructure and its value for health, biodiversity, landscape and regarding climate change. The policy then sets out the green infrastructure priorities for North Somerset although these are not an exhaustive list and may vary over the plan period. A green infrastructure strategy will be prepared to provide more detailed guidance.

How and where the policy will be delivered

There will be opportunities for provision of new and/or improvement of existing green infrastructure, in association with new development, either on or off-site, depending on the scale of the development and feasibility. There is particularly significant potential at major development sites such as the proposed urban extension at Weston-super-Mare.

Much will depend on appropriate development management to ensure development proposals retain, enhance and create appropriate green infrastructure, informed by the emerging Green Infrastructure Strategy. This will require formulation and implementation of detailed development management policies, to be included in the Development Management DPD. The council will investigate alternative mechanisms for the provision and long term maintenance of green infrastructure, particularly those which minimise the burden on the public purse. Where provision is to be publicly provided or maintained, this must be adequately resourced.

North Somerset Council has the central responsibility for the provision, delivery and planning of green infrastructure given its role as local planning authority and direct provider of significant areas of open space both in the urban and rural areas.

This role is enhanced by acting in partnership with key players in the public, private and voluntary sectors, whilst ensuring that delivery of quality green infrastructure is based on a strategic view of what is required to serve the needs of the community.

Alternative options and contingency planning

No alternative policy approaches are put forward: the Core Strategy needs to adequately reflect the need to protect, enhance and provide green infrastructure in line with national advice.

The scale of development envisaged in the Core Strategy requires significant infrastructure provision. If there are changes to the quantity, types or locations of development which can be delivered it is important that a commensurate level of green infrastructure provision is made.

Monitoring and review

The Green Infrastructure Strategy will assist in the development of the monitoring framework and key indicators. These will include local standards on accessibility for various categories of open space.