Keen to see Investment in maintenance and retrofit of existing places to include GI
Properly maintaining and retrofitting the nation’s assets is as important as investing in them in the first place.
For existing green infrastructure like parks, management and maintenance is essential to maximise its many benefits. Investment in maintaining these assets has declined including the value of developer contributions towards open space. New financial frameworks are needed that recognise the importance of maintaining environmental assets, and gives local areas the flexibility to pool resources and raise finance against the ecosystem services they provide.
After COVID-19, there is set to be a major shift in the way we use spaces like the high street. Reinventing these places as green, healthy and accessible spaces will be vital to ensuring their long-term sustainability. Re-inserting landscape back into the built environment can provide biodiversity and microclimatic benefits, improve health and wellbeing, increase community perception and solve flood management problems.
The green recovery also provides a unique opportunity to exploit the unintended consequence of the lockdown which saw an increase in local active transport: drastically reducing traffic congestion, resulting in better air quality, improved urban environments, and reduced carbon emissions. Transport is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK.
It is best to design walkability and bicycle use into spaces from the outset, but the opportunity of retrofit post-COVID would create labour-intensive, localised job creation. investment in cycle and walking infrastructure was found to have the highest employment multiplier of all transport investment post-COVID.