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Comhar publishes new study on Creating Green Infrastructure for Ireland

Comhar, Ireland’s Sustainable Development Council, has published its research report, ‘Creating Green Infrastructure for Ireland’ (August 24, 2010). The full report may be accessed here. A leaflet providing some key points may be accessed here

The report states that green Infrastructure, through a properly functioning biodiversity, provides space for nature to deliver vital ecological services that underpin our quality of life. Green Infrastructure can be broadly defined as an interconnected network of green space that conserves natural ecosystem values and functions and provides associated benefits to human populations.
The report goes on to make the following key points:

Development has been a major driver of habitat degradation and biodiversity loss in Ireland. Biodiversity continues to decline because its value is not reflected in decision-making by business and government. While tools such as ‘Strategic Environment Assessment’
 and ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ have become part of our development process, they are essentially reactive measures.  The introduction of a Green Infrastructure approach to planning policy would help to protect, create and manage green infrastructure in an integrated and proactive way.  It would also enhance Ireland’s biodiversity and improve resilience to climate change. Green infrastructure should be a core part of Ireland’s planning policy, including local development
plans to the national spatial strategy. This would require mapping of natural ecosystems to provide evidence of the value of biodiversity and ecosystems to the economy and society.  

Green infrastructure is a network of green spaces that help conserve natural ecosystems and provide benefits to human populations through water purification, flood control, carbon capture, food production and recreation. Such spaces include woodlands, coastlines, flood plains, hedgerows, city parks and street trees.  

Green infrastructure mapping underpins the whole approach and, while there are data gaps and needs, a lot of useful information already exists at national and local levels. This should be made available in a coordinated and accessible way for use in green infrastructure mapping. The report shows how this mapping can be carried out and used to inform the development of green infrastructure. It contains three case studies that illustrate green infrastructure planning in different areas, namely urban, peri-urban and rural areas (North East Dublin City; Broadmeadow, Fingal, and Offaly-Westmeath).  In addition, a national framework map was developed for the country, which highlights - among other elements - the existing biodiversity and ecological networks; water quality and flood attenuation infrastructure, and recreational / quality-of-life infrastructure. From these preliminary maps alone, the report highlights where the most valuable green infrastructures exist, and where there is potential to further develop and connect green infrastructure to maximise the potential benefits.    

The report contains a range of recommendations to government on how green infrastructure can be developed in Ireland. These include the development of national guidance and objectives; the inclusion of green infrastructure in policy and legislation; green infrastructure maps, and measures to improve data availability and harmonisation.
For further information see the Comhar website - http://www.comharsdc.ie
 

The Comhar full report may be downloaded below

A leaflet providing some key points may be downloaded below also

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Comhar Leaflet716.19 KB
PDF icon Comhar full Report2.64 MB