Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) covers a range of natural assets and can include areas of public open space, country parks, playing fields, allotments, woodlands, trees, hedgerows, green roofs & walls as well as rivers, lakes, canals and ponds. It plays an important role in helping to halt biodiversity loss, aiding nature recovery, building resilience to climate change, promoting healthy, resilient and safe communities as well as reinforcing the local character of areas and places.
As such, GBI has a number of roles to play and can be used for general recreation, sports, play, relaxation, growing local food and can also act as wildlife refuges and corridors.
Runnymede is home to a number of important GBI assets including local and national sites for nature conservation importance, registered commons land at Englefield Green and Thorpe, Runnymede Meadows as well as a number of ancient woodlands and urban open spaces such as parks and gardens, allotments, cemeteries and churchyards. Blue infrastructure assets include the River Thames, Basingstoke Canal, River Wey and River Wey Navigation, smaller streams such as the Addlestone Bourne and Chertsey Bourne and the lakes at Virginia Water and Thorpe.
Private domestic gardens also provide an important element of the Borough’s GBI Network by contributing to its connectivity for wildlife particularly in urban areas.
The Runnymede draft Green & Blue Infrastructure SPD sets out guidance for developers on how they can ensure GBI is considered, designed and delivered through their developments including maintaining and enhancing existing GBI features on site. The draft SPD includes a separate section for householders with advice and signposts to good practice on how small-scale developments can make a difference as well as a number of design principles for larger schemes to follow.
The SPD once adopted, will help to support implementation of the Runnymede 2030 Local Plan and will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
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