Essex GI Standards Framework and Guidance Draft Consultation

Closed 8 Jul 2021

Opened 18 May 2021


Essex GI Standards Framework and Guidance Draft Consultation

Essex County Council, University of East Anglian, Northumbria University and Environment Agency have been taking part in trialling Natural England’s National Green Infrastructure Standards Framework (NGISF) during September 2020 – February 2021. Government’s 25-year Environment Plan (2018) is the basis for Natural England’s NGISF, that set out 6 guiding principles for good GI.

As a result of Essex taking part in the trials a draft Essex Green Infrastructure Standards were produced along with supporting guidance. The Essex GI Standards have been developed by planners, policy and decision makers, other practitioners (from both public and third sectors) across Essex and academic experts from University of Northumbria and University of East Anglia. Over 30 of these professional practitioners attended each of the three engagement workshops held between September and November 2020 called Making Better Planning for Better Placemaking and Place-Keeping.

The Essex standards - similar to the National Framework of GI Standards - have 9 Principles of Good GI, as well as identifying  target measures and indicators to achieve quality and consistency in the provision, management and stewardship of GI as an essential part of place-making and place-keeping for the benefit of people and wildlife. This includes supporting standards, such as Building with Nature, Livewell Development Accreditation, Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard.

These standards will have supporting tools, such as the Green Essex GIS StoryMap (to be made available later in the year) and the NERC GI Planning Policy Assessment tool. They will help to strengthen GI policies, Local Plans and other strategic documents and embed GI into the Essex planning system and decision making.

The aim is:

“To mainstream GI into the Essex planning system and decision making through a more robust planning review process that endorses stronger policy wording and coverage of  high-quality and multi-functional GI within the Local Plans and other planning documents and the development of Local GI standards to set conditions for future planning applications. These to be agreed by all Planning Authorities across Essex.”

To help meet the following requirements key political hooks and drivers include:

  • Climate Emergency declarations – numerous local authorities have declared.
  • NPPF (paras 20d, 91c, 150a,170-1; 174, 181), biodiversity net gain and duty to corporate.
  • Shortcomings in GI policies / implementation (findings from national research).
  • Essex Green Infrastructure Strategy (2020) produced in partnership with Essex LPAs and other stakeholders and some LPAs have developed district-wide GI strategies.
  • Public health / active lives agendas; health & wellbeing strategies; CV19 response etc highlights the importance for GI.

It outlines an approach that requires a change to the way we think about and value our green infrastructure and green spaces. With the aim to deliver key 0utputs / outcomes:

  • Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, local GI Strategies and other industry/local guidance, such as arboriculture (trees) that does not have statutory requirements, projects and programmes to have stronger coverage, wording and GI policies.
  • GI planning conditions will be identified and set for planning applications to adhere to and laid out in the Essex Design Guide.
  • Better planning proposals, development and project outcomes - with integrated GI and planned maintenance from the beginning and master planning.
  • Overall – locally oriented, integrated, balanced response to points for the political hooks and drivers above.

Why your views matter

This first stage of the consultation is intended to enable you and other stakeholders to provide feedback on this draft Essex Green Infrastructure Standards and Guidance documents. To get an understanding of how these standards could support and be implemented in your work area and whether these should become full standards (i.e. assessed and monitored) or just supporting guidance. Your comments will help to finalise the Essex Green Infrastructure Standards and Guidance and identify the next steps on how this will be implemented. Which will go out to consultation again with you later in the year and will be presented to partners and Essex Planning Officer Association for sign off.

The consultation version of the Essex Green Infrastructure Standards Guidance can be downloaded below:

The consultation will commence on 18th May and finish on 1st July


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  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Environmental planning