In collaboration with our partners, the NEP Board has approved a map of Green Infrastructure Opportunities in Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes. The accompanying document explains what was done, why and how, and provides details of the opportunities within each identified zone, and so it must be read in conjunction with the map to interpret it.
Use the interactive map below to learn more about each zone.
This GI Opportunity Zone Map has been informed by a detailed exploration of the mapped networks of access, biodiversity, and water as well as an understanding of other considerations including development pressures and existing designations of relevance. Furthermore its creation has been guided by the expertise of those on the NEP’s Green Infrastructure and Health Task Group.
GI Opportunities exist across all of Bucks and MK, and that is why there is a light green wash covering the whole area. On top of that, the ‘opportunity zones’ have: specific large-scale, broad areas of needs for GI, and/or provide specific large-scale opportunities for GI in the future to provide benefits to landscape, wildlife, water and people.
The map is a discussion starting point and must be read alongside its supporting document, Green Infrastructure Opportunities Mapping, and the Vision and Principles for the Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.
This suite of documents provide an area-based high level strategic approach to protecting and enhancing GI and reduce the risk of ad-hoc and unplanned negative consequences to the environment as a result of rapid growth and development.
How the GI Opportunities Mapping will be used
The mapping work highlights the variety of larger, landscape-scale opportunities for green infrastructure that developments at all scales in our area should be made aware of and can help to achieve.
The NEP will use the mapping work in discussions with developers and infrastructure providers to explore the value of green infrastructure in our area and the benefits it can bring to people, wildlife and our economy.
The NEP’s partners encourage all developers, infrastructure providers, and other stakeholders to refer to the map at all opportunities in looking at strategic, large-scale opportunities for green infrastructure.
We are asking all developers, infrastructure provides and planners alongside other stakeholders to take action whenever possible to help achieve such a connected network of GI for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes – at all scales of development and retrospective design – so the benefits GI can provide back are maximised.
In practical terms, this means mapping and understanding the GI features that already exist at a development site and beyond, and the benefits they provide – i.e. how they contribute to how people live, how they work and the wildlife they support. It means building-in designs that work with both these features and benefits and finding opportunities to enhance them further. This might mean taking cues from existing GI into the design and layout of a development and how it links to its surroundings; and exploring all opportunities to better provide, connect, improve and protect green infrastructure and its multiple benefits to all into the long term. It also means building in natural features and solutions into design rather than engineered features so green and blue infrastructure is linked through developments (see our best practice work here) and is connected into larger-scale GI networks beyond any development boundaries. There may also be opportunities to create large-scale green infrastructure to connect people, wildlife and jobs, with sufficient space for nature.
In this way we hope to raise awareness and encourage good practice so that all scales of planning and development help achieve the NEP’s vision of green infrastructure opportunities for the benefit of people, wildlife and our economy.
We encourage developers at all scales to help achieve the GI opportunities at the larger scale by building in opportunities to connect, improve and create GI into their planning and actively take advantage of the opportunities that GI can provide across the zones we have identified.
In addition to the specific information for each zone, there are GI values, threats and opportunities that apply to all zones, click here for details.