Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Green Infrastructure

12.50 Green Infrastructure is the mosaic of natural landscape features, spaces and corridors that lie within and between developed areas. They are essential elements of the character and appearance of an area and contribute positively to cultural heritage, the health and well being of the local community and the general quality of life. In addition to enriching visual amenity they offer opportunities for informal recreation and provide wildlife habitats and the connectivity between them. They can also contribute to natural drainage and reduce surface water run off, helping mitigate for the consequences of climate change. Green Infrastructure assets include open spaces such as parks and gardens, allotments, woodlands and natural open space, fields, hedges, lakes, ponds, playing fields, as well as footpaths, cycleways and rivers.

12.51 The provision of properly integrated Green Infrastructure can enhance the amenity of an area and promote a sense of place and community identity. Greater access to open space, parks, playing fields and provision for children and young people are clearly beneficial to health and the sense of well-being of the local community. 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. Green infrastructure can also serve to deflect visitor pressures on nationally and internationally important wildlife sites.

12.52 Trees are essential to the value of Green Infrastructure. The retention of trees and woodland; their appropriate management; and provision of new tree planting, can help to combat climate change and flooding. Trees help to alleviate pollution and modify microclimate.

12.53 Attenuation ponds and other sustainable drainage systems, together with larger water bodies, can also provide valuable aspects of Green Infrastructure, with a potential for enhancing ecological and landscape value.

12.54 Clear priorities will be established through an overarching Green Infrastructure Strategy. This 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 recognises the need to integrate Green Infrastructure within the Yeovil Sustainable Extension and to ensure that all communities have access to quality green areas.

12.55 Where loss of green infrastructure as a result of development is unavoidable the Council will seek mitigation in accord with Natural England’s Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGST).

Policy EQ5: Green Infrastructure

The Council will promote the provision of Green Infrastructure throughout the District, based upon the enhancement of existing areas including public open space, accessible woodland, and river corridors, and by ensuring that development provides open spaces and green corridor links between new and existing green spaces.

The overall aim will be to provide a network of connected and multi-functional open spaces that:

  • Create new habitats and connects existing wildlife areas to enrich biodiversity & promote ecological coherence;
  • Provide an accessible network of green spaces and improve recreational opportunities, including environmental education, local food production and support physical health and mental wellbeing;
  • Ensure that all children and young people have reasonable access to a range of play and leisure opportunities;
  • Provide opportunities for enhanced, attractive walking and cycling routes linking urban areas and the wider countryside;
  • Enhance the character and local distinctiveness of the landscape;
  • Contribute to local identity and sense of place;
  • Increase the District's tree cover;
  • Help mitigate the consequences of climate change (sustainable drainage systems, shade etc.); and
  • Alleviate current and future potential visitor and recreation pressure/disturbance to internationally designated conservation areas.

Existing Green Infrastructure will be protected against any adverse impact of development proposals. If loss of existing green infrastructure assets is unavoidable in order to accommodate necessary development, appropriate mitigation for the loss will be required. All residential development should be designated at least to meet Natural England ‘Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard’ (ANGSt) or otherwise appropriately contribute to improving access to natural greenspace such that the overall aims are met.

12.56 It is anticipated that the forthcoming Green Infrastructure Strategy will identify specific actions for the short, medium and long term. The Council will work with otherpartners and bid for available funding opportunities to bring Green Infrastructure projects to fruition.

12.57 There will be opportunities for the provision of new Green Infrastructure, or improvement of existing facilities, in association with new development. It is essential that this should be an integral part of the design process to ensure the multifunctional aspects are incorporated. This is of particular significance in consideration of major development sites.

12.58 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy EQ5:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Developers and Landowners;
  • Somerset County Council;
  • Infrastructure Providers;
  • Town and Parish Councils.
Monitoring Indicators Target
Provision of new and improved open space, outdoor playing space, and sport and recreational facilities There should be no net loss of Green Infrastructure assets as a result of development
Access to Natural Greenspace All new development should comply with Natural England’s ‘Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt)’ wherever possible
Enable improved connectivity and access to services by the provision of footpaths and cycleways Increased patronage on public transport and increased take up of walking and cycling
Change in areas of biodiversity importance There should be no net losses of biodiversity habitat areas due to development
Number of planning permissions granted contrary to environment Agency advice on flooding and water quality grounds No permission should be granted in cases where an Environment Agency objection cannot be overcome
Green Infrastructure Strategy Production of a Green Infrastructure Strategy