Birmingham City Council has today launched a consultation on a plan to help people get the most out of the city's green spaces.
The Green Living Spaces Plan will preserve and enhance the vital assets that make up our green living spaces such as trees, woodlands, allotments, public open spaces, green roofs and walls, wetlands, canals and rivers.
Effective planning and maintenance of these spaces can provide numerous benefits to Birmingham, including improved wildlife habitat, flood protection, climate and air quality control, a sense of place, good recreation areas, sustainable transport options and food growing.
To assess how increasingly important the city's green networks are to people's health and wellbeing, the Green Living Spaces Plan uses data from an award-winning climate change model, BUCCANEER, specifically developed for Birmingham by a partnership of the city council and the University of Birmingham.
The plan introduces seven key principles that will be applied across many sectors including all forthcoming planning documents, such as the Birmingham Development Plan.
And Birmingham has also hosted a high-level business summit on sustainable development in the city, with special guest Peter Bakker , President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, where top business leaders will explore a possible pilot model of Birmingham as the world's first Natural Capital City. The summit included the launch of a pilot project funded by Government which will look at Birmingham's economy and whether its future success can be redefined by including the value and contribution of natural capital.
Councillor James Mckay, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City said:
“The Green Living Space Plan is a vital development in helping to safeguard and strengthen Birmingham's valuable natural resources. It clearly demonstrates how this can be achieved by working across agendas and between both public and private sectors, with a vital role for local communities – I encourage everyone to take a look at it and contribute their ideas.
“ With the momentum also generated by the summit on sustainable development in the city, this could represent the start of a new journey, taking Birmingham towards the Leader's vision of truly becoming one of the world's greenest cities.”
To find out more go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/greenlivingspaces
1 In November the Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and SMART City received the Lord Stafford Award for Environmental Sustainability on behalf of a collaboration with the University of Birmingham that built a climate model for Birmingham. The project entitled BUCCANEER (Birmingham Urban Climate Change Adaptation with Neighbourhood Estimates of Environmental Risk) is a unique software tool that has combined the future climate projections through to 2100, whilst combining 31 factors across the city's environment, economy and social agendas. Through this the city can demonstrate where the greatest impact is likely to happen and therefore who is at greatest risk.
The Green Living Spaces Plan re-interprets this data together with many other assessments including a full assessment of the city's green network, and how dependent the city is on this 'natural capital'; now and increasingly over time. What this shows is that there are direct ties between people's health and well being and their local environment.
2 The summit held in the city on 12 December included two workshops, with top business leaders exploring this pilot model idea of Birmingham becoming the world's first Natural Capital City, and whether this approach can generate new opportunities for business to help address the many challenges the city faces either independently or in partnership with the public sector. The second workshop looks at Localised Manufacturing and Supply Chains.