Initiative to put nature in planning policy recognised

A key initiative to put nature at the centre of planning policy across the Liverpool City Region has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The work to embed the baseline natural capital assessment within the Liverpool City Region’s Spatial Development Strategy has been named as a finalist in the Planning for the Natural Environment category of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) awards.

This is the result of collaboration between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Natural Capital Working Group, established and chaired by Dr Colm Bowe from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

The work has created a register of the city region’s environmental assets – such as green spaces, water and air quality - and assessed the benefits those assets bring to the area.

That data can then be used to inform decision-making and ensure that developments in the city region are sustainable and both protect and enhance the local environment.

Dr Bowe, a senior lecturer at LJMU’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, said: “I’m delighted that this key piece of work has been recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute and shortlisted for this prestigious award.

“Establishing a natural capital baseline is a crucial piece of work because it will help policy makers and planners understand the value we get in the Liverpool City Region from our green assets.

“This in turn will enable green and sustainable growth, support climate change targets, create a better environment and enhance people’s wellbeing in the Liverpool City Region.” 

RTPI President Wei Yang FRTPI said: “Many congratulations to all the finalists at this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence – these projects, teams and individuals showcase the very best of the planning profession from all the RTPI’s regions and nations and from countries around the world.

“For over 40 years, these prestigious awards have celebrated the exceptional work undertaken by town planners. In the middle of a global pandemic, I believe they are more relevant than ever before, recognising the incredible commitment and dedication of planners who have risen to the challenge of responding to the impacts of Covid-19 on the planning system.

Sarah Elliott MRTPI, UK&I Town Planning Lead for Buildings + Places at AECOM, said: “AECOM is proud to once again be a headline sponsor of this year’s RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence. The finalists are a diverse mixture of outstanding examples of planning, including new responses driven by the pandemic and climate change. Once again this demonstrates the breadth of the impact the profession has on quality place making and delivery in the built environment, alongside our resilience to evolve and adapt.”

The winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony in April.


The natural capital baseline assessment was carried out by LJMU alongside Natural Capital Solutions.

The Liverpool City Region Natural Capital Working Group is a subgroup of Nature Connected, the government-approved Local Nature Partnership.


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