Outcome 2 – Environmental quality, flooding and climate change

Our greenspaces and routes are multifunctional, providing improved ecosystem services for communities, helping us adapt to and mitigate climate change, improving our air and water quality, improving the ecological status of water bodies, managing surface water runoff and reducing flooding.

There are more buffer areas around greenspace, including traffic-calmed roads. Our streets are greener, with more street trees/vegetation. Routes between greenspaces contribute to a green network. Our rivers, streams and wetlands (blue network) are re-naturalised, with vegetated banks, gentler slopes and swales. This improvement allows us to create space for the restoration of urban rivers, and provides enhanced opportunities for community amenity, physical activity and well-being.

Opening up and re-naturalising our urban watercourses helps to reduce flooding and improve the quality of our urban rivers. Green infrastructure will change the way communities perceive storm water; it is no longer viewed as a problem but as a resource that contributes to making better places. The urban fabric is permeable, allowing rain to infiltrate into the ground, slowing the flow by collecting and moving surface water safely above ground into the natural river system and removing it from the sewerage system. In extreme rainfall events, green and blue infrastructure can be used to store water above ground and manage water safely through designated flood routes, reducing surface water runoff and managing surface water flooding. Run-off to rivers is reduced and water treated before it enters the river system, removing pollutants, improving water quality and managing river flooding.

Risks from climate change are reduced as communities and infrastructure are more resilient. Improved and new greenspace has reduced the impact of environmental problems like noise pollution, poor air and water quality, urban heating and flooding by improving the ecosystem services that urban land provides. Vegetation and soils absorb CO2 and other atmospheric pollutants. Water management through greenspace mitigates the threat of flooding to transport, power infrastructure and homes.