Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038

Policy PEN2: Portishead's Green and Blue Infrastructure

Context

3.16 Green and blue infrastructure encompasses the network of multifunctional green and blue spaces, and other natural features such as trees, verges and lakes, that give us a wide range of benefits for nature, climate and community wellbeing.

3.17 Green and blue infrastructure (GBI) in Portishead provides a huge range of ‘ecosystem services’. From flood management at Portbury Ditch, to recreation opportunities at the Lake Grounds, through to supporting the local pollinator network in the Portishead in Bloom planters on the High Street; the green and blue infrastructure network in Portishead is multi-functional as well as integral to the quality of place of the town.

3.18 Portishead’s green and blue assets are part of a network of green and blue infrastructure that is locally, regionally, nationally and internationally important. Figure 4 illustrates diagrammatically the key strategic green and blue infrastructure in the Neighbourhood Area to be protected and enhanced. The Severn Estuary has a number of designations recognising its local and international importance:

  • The Severn Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
  • Severn Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA)
  • Severn Estuary Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site)
  • Severn Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

3.19 More detail on Portishead’s green and blue infrastructure, can be found in the Portishead Green and Blue Infrastructure Evidence Base Report (2022). Below an aerial shot looking north towards Severn Estuary with Weston Big Wood in the foreground.

WHAT ARE ‘ECOSYSTEM SERVICES’?

Ecosystem services are the multiple benefits that the natural environment provides. Ecosystem services make human life possible and include - to name just a few - the production of food and water, flood regulation, space for recreation, air quality regulation and maintenance of biodiversity. A key aim of draft policy PEN2 is to support and diversify the range of ecosystem services provided by Portishead’s green and blue infrastructure network.

3.20 North Somerset Council’s Green Infrastructure Strategy (2020) provides a framework for protecting and enhancing the green and blue infrastructure network across the District. Using objectives from the Strategy, the Portishead GBI Evidence Report includes an assessment of how key GBI areas currently perform at various ecosystem services, as well as specific recommendations about how this performance could be improved. Proposals that affect Portishead’s GBI network are expected to refer to the Portishead GBI Evidence Report and demonstrate how they protect and enhance the quantity and quality of the network, referring to the specific findings of the Report and priorities identified in Policy PEN2. Information included in the GBI Evidence Report, together with site specific analysis required for site proposals, will inform the content of the Climate Change Adaptation Statement which is required to be submitted by North Somerset Council’s emerging Local Plan Policy DP5.

3.21 The North Somerset Green Infrastructure Strategy highlights the importance of the need to develop several linked policies that cover the full range of functions that green and blue infrastructure covers. Policy PEN2 is therefore linked to other NDP policies on biodiversity, trees and woodland and open spaces. The protection and enhancement of Portishead’s green and blue infrastructure network is threaded throughout further policies in the NDP, reflecting the GBI network’s integral role in placemaking, wellbeing and mitigating the effects of the climate emergency.

Relevant Objective

O2 To protect and enhance the multi-functional blue-green (water and green) spaces of our town and the links between them, recognising the importance of these areas for health and wellbeing.

Local Policy Context

  • CS1 Addressing climate change and carbon reduction
  • CS4 Nature conservation
  • CS9 Green infrastructure
  • DM19 Green infrastructure

POLICY PEN2 - PORTISHEAD’S GREEN AND BLUE INFRASTRUCTURE

The integrity, multi-functionality, quality and connectivity of the strategic Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) network will be protected, enhanced and managed. Development that will result in the creation of new green and/or blue infrastructure (GBI) and/or contribute to the protection, management, enhancement and connectivity of Portishead’s existing GBI network, as illustrated diagrammatically on Figure 4, and detailed in the Portishead GBI Evidence Base Report, will be supported.

Proposals for developments must, where relevant to the proposed development:

i. identify the existing GBI within and around the development site; and

ii. demonstrate how GBI has been incorporated into the proposal, with particular reference to the Objectives and Recommendations included in the Portishead GBI Evidence Base Report; and

iii. assess and address how the proposal will benefit a range of ecosystem services that the GBI network provides; and

iv. assess and address how the proposal will benefit connectivity of GBI through the site and beyond; and

v. demonstrate that GBI in the proposal has been designed to promote and enhance local diversity and distinctiveness, referring particularly to the Portishead GBI Evidence Base Report and the Key Positive Design Characteristics identified in the Portishead Community Character Statement.

RELATED COMMUNITY ACTIONS

Joined up working for a joined up strategic GBI network

The Portishead Neighbourhood Area is part of key strategic Green and Blue infrastructure corridors that sweep beyond the Neighbourhood Area and across North Somerset. It is key that Green and Blue Infrastructure assets in Portishead are managed appropriately and in collaboration with neighbouring parishes to ensure benefits to the strategic network. Portishead Town Council already works collaboratively with its neighbouring parishes and is committed to continuing this in relation to green and blue infrastructure where needed.

Greening the Grey

Identify opportunities for ‘greening the grey’ within the built area e.g. green roofs, walls and planting in built up areas where the opportunities to provide new open space is limited. Development around the Marina has been identified as an area where this could be particularly beneficial. Portishead Town Council owns a number of bus shelters around the town and a toilet block – these have been identified as potential green roofs.

FIG 4: GBI Network Assets and Priorities Diagram

Figure 4 GBI Network Assets and Priorities Diagram