Finance for green infrastructure in 2014

Earlier this month the European Commission adopted a new strategy for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said, "Building green infrastructure is often a good investment for nature, for the economy and for jobs. We should provide society with solutions that work with nature instead of against it, where that makes economic and environmental sense."  

Examples of green infrastructure in Europe today include bicycle path networks, rainwater harvesting, sustainable water management, and smart cities and communities.

The strategy will focus on:

•             Promoting green infrastructure in the main policy areas such as agriculture, forestry, nature, water, marine and fisheries, regional and cohesion policy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, transport, energy, disaster prevention and land use policies. By the end of 2013, the Commission will develop guidance to show how green infrastructure can be integrated into the implementation of these policies from 2014 to 2020.

•             Improving research and data, strengthening the knowledge base and promoting innovative technologies that support green infrastructure.

•             Improving access to finance for green infrastructure projects – the Commission will set up an EU financing facility by 2014 together with the European Investment Bank to support green infrastructure projects

•             Supporting EU-level GI projects – by the end of 2015, the Commission will carry out a study to assess the opportunities for developing an EU-wide network of green infrastructure.

The Communication on Green Infrastructure draws from the EU's Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, in order to promote investing in and the use of Green Infrastructure in Europe.

Link to the communication and citizen summary:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/index_en.htm

Other links on green infrastructure from the TURAS project:

Town and Country Planning Association, Planning for a healthy environment – Good practice guidance for green infrastructure and biodiversity, 2012

·         This guidance is design to offer advice to planning practitioners on how GI and biodiversity can be enhanced and protected through the planning system. It summarises the latest policy drivers and distils the best of the current policy responses.

Stockholm University, Cities and Biodiversity Outlook, Action and Policy, 2012

·         Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO) brings into sharp focus not only the extraordinary wealth of urban biodiversity but also its role in generating ecosystem services upon which large and small urban populations and communities rely for their food, water, and health. This text reveals not only how the GI provides those ecosystem services but also its importance in strategies of social economic development.

European Commission, Guidelines on best practice to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing, 2012.

·         This Commission Staff Working Document describes approaches based on limiting, mitigating and compensating for the effects of soil sealing which have been implemented in the Member States. GI, in this context, represents one of the tools for “soil sealing mitigation”.

European Commission, Green Infrastructures, June 2010.

·         The European Commission is developing a strategy for an EU-wide Green Infrastructure as part of its post-2010 biodiversity policy. In this text it’s described how the GI can be an aid to maintaining healthy ecosystems and consequently how it can represents an economic support.

Landscape Institute, Green infrastructure, connected and multifunctional landscapes, May 2009

·         In this document the Landscape Institute shows how, with an improved understanding of the concept, greater policy support, increased investment and a more collaborative approach, the GI should become central to the way we think about and use our land.

Natural England, Green Infrastructure Guidance, 2009

·         Natural England’s Green Infrastructure Guidance articulates their position in relation to green infrastructure planning and delivery, which is increasingly recognised as an essential part of sustainable spatial planning.

Town and Country Planning Association, The essential role of green infrastructure: eco-towns green infrastructure worksheet, 2008

·         The Worksheet is designed to provide clear guidance on how to design, incorporate and operate green infrastructure that is fully ‘fit for purpose’. This guidance is intended not just for eco-town developers and planners but also for those who will manage the new settlements and work with the new communities.

Davies Et Al, Green Infrastructure Planning Guide Project - Final Report, May 2006.

·         This project was primarily exploratory to try to understand the GI concept and to contribute to discussion with regard to the methodologies by which the practice of GI planning can be developed.