On 18 February Swansea Council’s cabinet adopted a plan that aims to help deliver a greener city.
It aims to help deliver:
- a greener city, with fewer hard surfaces, to help create a city centre that is a more attractive place in which to live and more resilient to climate change;
- more use of nature to provide space for wildlife, bring people pleasure and offer an improved experience for visitors and traders.
The plan – developed in partnership by the council, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Green Infrastructure Consultancy, stakeholders and the community – went out for public consultation last year.
David Hopkins, the council’s joint deputy leader and cabinet member for delivery and operations, said: “The draft strategy was developed with strong engagement across the public, private and third sectors and – importantly – the community.
“It will help enhance the green infrastructure we will see in future development and retrofits across the city.”
Green infrastructure (GI) is a term used to describe all the features of the natural environment between and within our towns and cities. It is not about just creating more greening but ensuring that greening provides a variety of opportunities and benefits for people and nature to thrive.
The Swansea strategy sets out a vision for the central area of the city to be much greener. It promotes a joined-up approach to incorporating green infrastructure in future city centre regeneration work.
Cllr Hopkins said: “Green infrastructure provides an opportunity for Swansea to bring nature into the heart of the city and widen its appeal to residents and visitors. This will bring benefits such as boosting biodiversity and improving climate change resilience.
“The strategy will enable the council and stakeholders to take an informed and joined up approach to maximising these benefits and will create investor confidence in green infrastructure in the city centre.”
Swansea city centre is undergoing a £1bn regeneration programme and the new strategy will guide developers on how nature can be integrated into their designs.
It will complement the council’s Swansea Central Area Regeneration Framework (SCARF). It will meet the objectives of the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.
The strategy aligns with the council’s corporate priority to maintain and enhance Swansea’s natural resources and biodiversity.
Martyn Evans, Head of South West Operations, Natural Resources Wales, said: “Connecting people to nature and all the benefits that come with it is a cornerstone of the work we do and this strategy will put that into practice in a very real way.
“By increasing and improving green spaces and ensuring everything that’s installed, built or grown has several benefits and purposes, we can set up Swansea to meet the needs of today and of the future.
“Our commitment to Green Infrastructure is outlined in our South West Area Statement, which sets out a work plan that puts sustainability at its forefront to help combat the climate, biodiversity and ecological emergencies that we all now face.”