The benefits of and requirement for enhanced sustainability within developments is now firmly embedded in local and national planning policy in Scotland. Whilst the provision of ‘Blue-Green Infrastructure¹ can be viewed as a hindrance, as it takes up land with a commercial value, it should also be viewed as an opportunity, potentially adding value to the wider development.
On 17 March 2016, Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, will host an event organised by the “Living Cities Consortium” directed at major stakeholders involved in house building, construction, public realm improvements and delivery of new development across the public, private, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. The purpose of this event is to highlight the range of opportunities that Blue-Green Infrastructure can provide.
Properly integrated Blue Green Infrastructure has considerable potential to improve Scotland’s built environment through its potential for incorporation into a multi-functional space. Well-designed water treatment and storage infrastructure can deliver considerable biodiversity benefits whilst accommodating other uses such as recreation.
The focus of the discussion will be on increasing awareness of the design opportunities that exist, using examples to demonstrate how design-related benefits are already being realised. Existing communities and new developments alike could benefit from improved public space, enhanced community function and economic performance while helping to deliver a range of benefits for native flora and fauna.
The Living Cities Corsortium comprises Terrenus Environmental, Terrenus Land & Water, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, Peter Brett Associates and BSG Ecology. During the event Steve Betts, Partner in the BSG Ecology Newcastle office, will deliver a presentation on the ecological benefits of Blue-Green Infrastructure during which he will look at how this can help meet biodiversity objectives at the local level.
Blue-Green Infrastructure can be designed to benefit biodiversity without compromising its functionality for water treatment and storage. It can be incorporated into landscaping schemes and through the use of appropriate aquatic, wetland or drought tolerant plant species, it is possible to enhance its ecological function. Schemes might include features such as bio-swales, rain gardens, wetlands, ponds, green walls and green roofs, all of which can deliver aesthetic benefits as well as increasing local biodiversity.
The event will include presentations that will explore the commercial benefits of Blue-Green Infrastructure, engineering and SUDs delivery, and the legal implications and challenges posed by these developments. It is designed to encourage designers to think creatively about the available opportunities, whilst providing a forum for networking and informed technical discussion.
¹ Blue-Green Infrastructure is a combination of bio-filtration, ponds, wetlands, rain gardens and other natural land and plant based ecological water treatment systems and processes.