Our rich and diverse environment is integral to our region’s health and economic prosperity. Understanding and valuing the benefits natural environment provides to people, place and nature, is crucial to how we manage natural assets and the services they provide, such as food, fuel, water regulation, pollination, recreation.
Well-planned and managed, functioning green infrastructure – including rivers, ponds, parks, trees and allotments – help us maximise the benefits and value we derive from our natural assets, including clean air, plentiful water, health and equitable climate.
The Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy (JGIS) has been produced and endorsed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.
With WECA and the West of England councils having each declared a Climate Emergency, the strategy is now more relevant than ever ensuring that our network of multifunctional urban and rural green space responds to the climate and ecological emergency.
Whilst the JGIS was developed by WECA and the West of England councils, its delivery requires the support of many partners and stakeholders.
As part of the published JGIS, an Action Plan (2020-23) integrates wider activity to address green infrastructure related requirements of Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Environment Bill (2019/21) including; developing the West of England’s Nature Recovery Network, exploring an approach to develop a West of England Natural Capital Account, understanding ecosystems services and meeting the requirements of Biodiversity Net Gain.
The Action Plan identifies West of England priority activities to achieve the JGIS Outcomes. Some are joint activities or projects and others will be delivered by individual partners e.g. councils as they progress their Local Plans and climate emergency action plans.
The West of England Combined Authority and the West of England councils commit to its delivery and to implementing the Action Plan. This will be led by WECA on behalf of the West of England Councils. The West of England GI Working Group will continue to support implementation of the Action Plan with individual partners and organisations taking the lead on specific projects or activities.
The five authorities are grateful to the following for their collaboration on the JGIS: