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Importance of green space in housing developments highlighted by lockdown measures

It’s vital that housing developers incorporate quality green spaces into their projects, ecology consultancy Ecological Planning & Research Ltd (EPR) has said.

It points out that the Covid-19 lockdown period and associated social distancing measures
has highlighted how much more difficult it can be for those with limited access to green
space to cope mentally.

Ben Kite, managing director of EPR, said: “The limitations imposed by Covid-19 lockdown
have brought to the forefront the need to be clever about improving access and creating
pockets of greenspace to protect our wellbeing, and that of the wildlife we are welcoming
back to our streets, parks, and gardens.

“Revising Local Plans to place greater emphasis on the provision of green and blue infrastructure, sustainable travel, and high-quality open spaces will not be easy – particularly in built-up high density areas where there is a real need to create green space – but this is no reason not to try.”

He added: “Allocations for new residential development should be seen not as being in
competition with the need for green open space provision, but as an opportunity for such
provision to be delivered.

“The wheels have already been set in motion for the creation and improvement of green
space in England with the biodiversity net gain requirements set out in the emerging
Environment Bill.

“The Bill will mandate for residential, commercial, and infrastructure developers to
demonstrate that biodiversity has been enhanced through all new projects – but I believe
that we can do more to build more resilient, greener communities by bringing green space to the top of the agenda in every new Local Plan.”

EPR has published ‘Building Biodiversity Net Gain into Housing’ in order to help
housebuilders include quality biodiversity in their developments.

The report, which is the first in a series aimed at addressing Biodiversity Net Gain
requirements across all aspects of development in England, highlights how outdoor spaces
can be strategically improved for both people and wildlife whilst increasing the overall value of the country’s housing stock.

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