Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Green space protection in Bristol

Green spaces are one of Bristol’s most valued features; one of the most obvious ways you can argue it is, in a relative sense, green. Bristol City Council Council should do all it can to maximise the protection of this finite asset, especially so given the city’s European Green Capital status. It should not permit the proposed development adjacent to Eastville Park Lake (pictured) on land that has multiple protective designations (details here; planning application 15/01870/F) if the designations are to mean something.

National planning policy has the stated aim of protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development. Building over the land pictured would damage the environment and is certainly not a sustainable development.

Many have experienced the disappearance of areas they and their friends and family once roamed around and played in. In an urban area open, green spaces are vital to sustainability and thus our health and the quality of our lives:

·         offering relief from the all too common congestion and other negative effects of development
·         providing ways of connecting with and appreciating the natural world – vital to wellbeing and to encouraging respect for nature
·         giving people a feeling of space
·         providing leisure, tourism, recreational, entertainment, sporting opportunities
·         helping to attact and keep businesses and help them to attract and retain the staff they need.

The above is not an exhaustive list.

Green spaces are vital to sustainability in that they provide key ecological and environmental function benefits:

·         storm water drainage and thus flood protection, as the land soaks up, temporarily stores and then gradually releases rain
·         taking carbon dioxide (and other pollutants) from the air and thus helping to fight climate change and local air pollution
·         provision of wildlife habitat and food supply, aiding biodiversity
·         buffering people from noise pollution
·         providing naturally cooler areas, thus countering the urban heat island effect

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Land is of course needed if we are to build a sustainable society and so not all types of green space development under all circumstances should be opposed. The council should selectively support and advocate the development of land if it clearly contributes to building the quality of life and sustainability of our neighbourhoods, communities and society by, for example:

·         making use of brownfield sites (research by UWE shows room to build 30,000 houses on Bristol brownfield sites)
·         promoting walking and cycling over motorised travel
·         providing local energy generation,
·         enhancing local food production
·         enabling waste avoidance, reuse, recycling, composting
·         boosting local skills development and small-scale local green manufacturing

This list is also not an exhaustive one.

Please support this e-petition here about prioritising the development of brownfield sites and protecting green spaces.

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