Conservative-led plans to protect and enhance South Gloucestershire’s nature while responding to the Climate Emergency, have been unveiled.
The Green Infrastructure Strategy, released days before the start of the international COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, outlines how South Gloucestershire Council will lead local changes in the management of all things green in order to tackle the ecological crisis and highlights the positive impact the work will have on the local economy, reducing inequalities and the regeneration of communities across the district.
Green Infrastructure refers to the natural environmental features of an area and when it is well planned, designed, managed and connected it gives many benefits for people and for nature. The new strategy aims to create more habitat for nature, delivery quality public open spaces, put green infrastructure at the heart of new development planning and support a green and resilient economy, including stronger working together and sustainable and local food production.
Among the features included as part of the strategy are:
• The creation of five new nature reserves across South Gloucestershire
• Establishing a Green Investment Scheme – allowing local businesses to utilise their carbon offsetting aims and objectives through the Council’s activities
• Doubling tree cover across the district – including through maintaining a tree nursery to help meet tree planting goals and the formation of new orchards to have one well managed climate change-resilient community orchard within a 15-minute walk of every local urban community
• The creation of South Gloucestershire’s first “Wildbelt” – connecting Commons and other green spaces across the Kingswood area
The strategy supports South Gloucestershire Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration which was made in 2019, committing to a net-zero target by 2030. This has seen the Conservative-led Council reassess all aspects of its activities to ensure the declaration is a golden thread running through its work – this has included the redesign of new, and maintenance of existing school buildings, increased investment into public open spaces and sustainable transport infrastructure and the Council converting to run on 100% renewable energy sources.
Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, and the Council’s lead on Climate Change, said: “To tackle the Climate and Nature Emergencies, we need to be taking an unreservedly holistic and ambitious approach, ensuring that we bring local residents and businesses with us on this journey in a way that benefits all areas of society. This strategy is a fundamental part of that vision, benefiting not just nature, but boosting our local economy, supporting our communities and improving health and wellbeing for all.
“With South Gloucestershire boasting such a rich and varied landscape, we want to work together with everyone who lives, works in, and visits South Gloucestershire to bring together and deliver a vision now and into the future across our area for greener places where people and nature thrive.”