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Guide for Developers and Planners in The National Forest: More Green Infrastructure Required

Wednesday, 7th November 2012

The National Forest Company has issued an updated version of its Guide for Developers and Planners.

The Guide, last updated in 2005, sets out guidelines to help ensure any development within the 200 square miles of The National Forest brings with it an enhanced proportion of green infrastructure to reflect the Forest setting.

It states that any development in The National Forest should include between 20% - 30% of the site as green infrastructure such as woodland, parkland and ponds including sustainable drainage systems. This reflects the added emphasis given nationally to the need to incorporate green infrastructure within the National Planning Policy Framework.

The launch of the Guide is timely as forest cover has reached 19% throughout The National Forest, which covers parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. This is a three-fold increase from an initial 6% in the early 1990s. Planning and mineral restoration schemes have contributed more than 1400ha of Forest creation over this period.

The National Forest’s 8 millionth tree has also just been planted, by HRH the Duke of Cambridge when he opened St George’s Park, the new national football centre near Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire. 

The National Forest spans parts of nine local authority areas, which were all involved with the production of the document. The Guide, and the green infrastructure creation targets it contains, is now specifically referred to in the adopted and emerging Core Strategies of each authority, indicating the weight given locally to the document and acknowledging the need to incorporate green infrastructure within built development. 

The National Forest area is set to see considerable growth of around 25,000 new dwellings over the next 20 years, which will include major urban extensions to Burton upon Trent and Coalville.

Philip Metcalfe, Green Infrastructure and Planning Officer for the National Forest Company, said: “There are many ways developers can increase the amount of green infrastructure in their developments: retained trees and hedgerows can form the basis of a network that might link new woodland planting, sustainable urban drainage systems and imaginatively-designed natural play areas. The Guide includes examples of best practice to show how green infrastructure and Forest creation have been included in recent development and mineral restoration schemes, such as the development of the National Forest Cycle Centre from a former open cast coal mine at Hicks Lodge in Leicestershire.”

The new Guide is available online.

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