A new iCASP partnership is forming to dissolve the barriers which prevent investment in natural landscaping in urban areas. Natural landscape features such as ponds, rows of trees, rooves or walls planted with greenery are just a few common examples of what is described as Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI).
In spite of its benefits, which include natural cooling, improving air quality, providing wildlife habitats and making urban areas more attractive, planners struggle to make a persuasive business case for GBI investment.
Now a strong multi-disciplinary team in partnership with stakeholders in Leeds City region and West Yorkshire are determined to lead the way in improving cost-benefit analysis and valuation of Green Blue Infrastructure. They want to bring HM Treasury on board too!
Earlier this year (March 2018), HM Treasury’s Green Book included a new section on natural capital. It directs readers to valuation approaches for multiple natural capital/ecosystem services. Wider environmental, social and economic effects are more prominent than before. There is scope for further modification and the iCASP project would test and provide feedback on the guidance, and support business case developers and appraisers in its use.
A strong element of the project is also to help practitioners navigate through the plethora of tools and information about GBI to discover what can reliably help them.
More specifically, such work would support the implementation of the Leeds City Region GBI Strategy. For example, this project could influence capital projects to be funded by the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund (pending approval by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Project Appraisal Team).