Report explores green infrastructure decision making

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has released a report, offering case study insights into green infrastructure decision making.

UKGBC set out how integrating green infrastructure in the development process is a challenging prospect, explaining that as well as integrating it within other development needs, it requires working with a wide array of stakeholder interests, complicated regulatory procedures and the ability to work within the constraints presented by location. It looked at five green infrastructure case studies – City of Trees (Manchester); Wild West End (London); Victory Oak (Dorset); Kingsbrook (Buckinghamshire); and Marks & Spencer Newcastle – before identifying some key insights found across them.

It found that green infrastructure was typically perceived to lack a return of investment which has led to low levels of implementation. However, it noted that the case studies had shown green infrastructure is capable of generating a multitude of benefits for businesses, environment and society. Examples of this include built assets being able to adapt to the impacts of future climate changes, such as the increased risk of flooding and overheating. This, subsequently, leads to the generation of financial returns due to avoiding having to repair flood damage or upgrade an air conditioning system.

Furthermore, it found that in some case studies, implementing green infrastructure into the design of a project increases both the speed and likelihood of acquiring planning permission. Elsewhere, while immediate or direct financial returns may not necessarily be offered by green infrastructure, it can still provide long-term value through better environment outcomes and the improved health and wellbeing of building occupants.

The report also noted a common thread to run through the case studies was the success of a collaborative approach. Working together means that developers and external partners are able to exchange knowledge, share learnings and collaborate to generate better outcomes for nature and people.