Embedding nature in local planning

LJMU is training officers from the six local authorities of the Liverpool City Region and the combined authority to understand the importance of putting nature at the heart of local decision-making.

The Natural Capital Hub delivered sessions to 28 planning officers representing the local councils and combined authority, as part of LJMU’s commitment to sustainability and the environment.

Using a natural capital approach to decision-making means considering the value of local green and blue spaces and generating a flow of finance into projects that protect and restore them. The sessions used local case studies to show the many benefits that can be brought about through a green recovery.

The event also featured presentations by colleagues from two partner organisations: Angie Jukes and Katie Finkill-Coombs from Natural England and Rachael Rhodes from Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service.

Dr Colm Bowe from LJMU’s Natural Capital Hub said: “We were really pleased to be able to offer this training opportunity to local authority planners from across the Liverpool City Region.

“Embedding a natural capital approach within areas such as planning helps us to consider the benefits from nature in decision-making. These benefits are key to our wellbeing and economy as well as creating high quality places for communities.

“The natural capital approach also provides routes to investment into nature which can support the creation, protection and enhancement of greenspaces and natural habitats.

“The development of the Natural Capital Hub provides a real opportunity to build capacity and literacy around natural capital. This is key to driving the green economy across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.”

Mark Dickens, lead spatial planning officer at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “The training the Natural Capital Hub provided for the planners from the Liverpool City Region was excellent. 

“It ensured that we all left with a common understanding of what natural capital is but more importantly how it works and how natural capital can be funded. The hub provided live examples of how natural capital has been used and this helped us all understand how we could use it in our roles. 

“It helped take it from the theoretical to the practical which is essential if we are going to implement natural capital as a key part of our approach to the natural environment with its health and well-being benefits and towards net zero.”

This training was funded by “More from Trees”, a Green Recovery Challenge Fund Project led by The Mersey Forest in partnership with Liverpool City Council, Liverpool CCG, Liverpool John Moores University, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the PATT Foundation.

The ”More from Trees” project is helping to kickstart a Green Recovery across Merseyside and Cheshire, boosting nature recovery and connecting more people to nature across the area.

If you are interested in future natural capital training opportunities, please email project officer, Hannah Branwood

Pictured from left to right: Mark Dickens (LCR Combined Authority), Luke Bentley (LJMU Natural Capital Hub), Caroline Rothschild (LJMU Natural Capital Hub), Rachael Rhodes (Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service), Colm Bowe, Hannah Branwood, Sandra Angers-Blondin (all LJMU Natural Capital Hub).


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