A recently compiled business case for green infrastructure investment in Oxfordshire identified a number of headline benefits.
A 1% increase in the amount of greenspace in a ward generates a 1% increase in the value of a residential property in England. Vegetation may reduce noise by as much as 50%.
A noise reduction of just 1 decibel for every property in the county would be worth £8m p.a. to the Oxfordshire economy.
Investment in cycling infrastructure could take one car off the road for as little as 80 pence per day.
Reducing speed limits in residential areas could reduce traffic accidents by half.
People with good access to green space are 24% more likely to be physically active.
A 10% increase in physical activity in adults would be worth over £6m to the Oxfordshire Economy. Oxfordshire's woodlands remove 175,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year from the atmosphere with an estimated value of £6 million each year.
Green roof energy savings are 30 kwh/m2 or 14 kg CO2/m2 or £5-6 m2 per year for heating and air conditioning. River woodland is worth £6,000 per year per hectare for its flood regulation benefits.
Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) are half the cost of traditional drainage over a 60-year life span.
During an extreme rainfall event green roofs can retain up to 90% of rainfall. One square metre of green roof can offset the annual particulate matter emissions of one car.
Planting of vegetation in streets can reduce street-level pollution concentrations by up to 60%.
Oxfordshire's rural woodlands remove 400 tonnes of air pollutants and thereby save £6.5 million in healthcare cost per year.
Converting intensive agriculture to a mixture of woodland and pasture near cities can generate benefits of £1,300 per hectare per year.
Source – Making the case for investment in Green Infrastructure – Brillianto - Oxfordshire County Council
The proposal is that the Oxfordshire Plan will utilise the Natural Capital baseline mapping for Oxfordshire so that it can be used to guide strategic planning for development and green infrastructure investment at the strategic and site scale including the Oxfordshire Plan spatial strategy.
The Oxfordshire Plan would establish a Natural Capital Approach to planning in Oxfordshire, placing natural capital considerations at the heart of planning for development, infrastructure, and environmental enhancements including nature-based solutions.
A natural capital approach will recognise the importance of healthy and thriving ecosystems in supporting the health and wellbeing of communities, supporting climate change resilience and provision of ecosystems services.
The Oxfordshire Plan would require an assessment of natural capital and ecosystem services impact for major developments, policies, plans or programmes including the identification of strategic environmental opportunity areas and green infrastructure.
The use of an eco-metric may better enable the quantification of environmental value in order to establish the type and scale of investments to secure net gains.
Local plans should be guided by the baseline assessment of natural capital assets and ecosystem services developed for Oxfordshire to influence the spatial distribution of development and investment in green infrastructure and nature-based solutions.
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