The CCRI and the University of Gloucestershire are signing a pledge, along with other Gloucestershire organisations, to commit to making Gloucestershire a pioneer of green infrastructure, creating a better, more attractive place to live, work and visit, as well as becoming an exemplar for the rest of the country.

Today,  Friday 26th October, over 75 people will be attending the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership (GLNP) Symposium ‘Making the Business case for Green Infrastructure in Gloucestershire’, which is taking place at the University of Gloucestershire’s Francis Close Hall campus, with the aim of unpicking the obstacles that still prevent industry from prioritising the delivery of green infrastructure features when designing and implementing new places to live and work.

With the Gloucestershire 2050 Vision firmly in mind, the GLNP has sought to drive firmer commitment to the delivery of green infrastructure across the county and thus, in line with the event, the partnership has also launched the ‘Gloucestershire Green Infrastructure Pledge’, which has already been signed by over 14 organisations from across the county, including all local authorities, the County Council, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, National Trust, Active Gloucestershire, CPRE and the University of Gloucestershire. More are expected to sign the Pledge at the event.

The symposium welcomes a range of invited delegates, mainly from within the county, including industry experts, practitioners and key figures from local authorities. They will be providing frank, open and honest conversations to address the current challenges, gain clarity on the opportunities and take the necessary actions and innovations to move beyond them collectively. This event will build a clear case that high quality green infrastructure makes sense from an economic, social and environmental perspective.

Doug Hulyer, Chair of the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership says, “I’m delighted that so many bodies have signed up to the Green Infrastructure Pledge. Us who live, work and play within this lovely County can look forward to many more spaces being created that are rich in wildlife and enjoyed by many – knowing, also, that these spaces are carrying out vital work keeping our environment clean and healthy.”

Chris Short, reader in Environmental Governance in the Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University, is delighted that the event is being held in the Landscape Architecture studios at the University’s Francis Close Hall campus in Cheltenham, where green infrastructure is taught. “We are able to highlight the hard work of the university to adjust the management of its estate to help deliver environmental benefits. Students regularly look into these types of issues and some of them were able to help with the event.”

Key speakers include Sarah Dunning from the Westmorland Family responsible for Gloucester Services, which is an exemplar site for green infrastructure. As well as winning many awards, Gloucester Services has achieved ‘Excellent’ under the Building with Nature accreditation scheme developed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and University of the West of England. Gemma Jerome, Building with Nature Manager, says that the symposium “is an important milestone to change the way of thinking in the county so it is a leader in green infrastructure.”

Good Green Infrastructure can improve water management, air quality, public safety, food and energy security, public health and wellbeing, social cohesion, along with climate change adaptation and mitigation. Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for strategic infrastructure and climate change, said, “Gloucestershire is a green and beautiful county and we want to help safeguard this so future generations can enjoy it too. Green Infrastructure is increasingly recognised to have a number of benefits and the county council will now look at embedding these principles into how we plan for Gloucestershire’s future development and regeneration.”

Today’s symposium can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #glosnature