Green infrastructure

Policy PODM10: Green infrastructure

  1. Green infrastructure should be central to the design of schemes, ensuring the site for wildlife and people and creating a multi-functional network of spaces and uses.
  2. Existing Green Infrastructure

  3. There is an expectation that new development proposals will enhance, and integrate with, the local green infrastructure network.
  4. Through its layout and design, new development shall respond to the existing local green infrastructure network and help connect areas of green infrastructure.
  5. Development proposals and Green Infrastructure

  6. Development shall contribute to the delivery and management of green infrastructure that meets the needs of communities and biodiversity, both within and beyond the proposal’s boundaries, including establishment of new and enhancement of existing green infrastructure.
  7. Where it is considered that the development will have a detrimental effect on, or cause loss or harm to the quantity, quality, or function of existing green infrastructure, then the development will not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated that an assessment has been made and that the need for and benefits of the proposed development demonstrably outweigh any adverse impacts and suitable mitigation measures are proposed. Any mitigation measures should be of equal or greater value than that which is to be compromised or lost through development.
  8. Development that compromises the integrity of green infrastructure assets or the delivery of green infrastructure strategies, and/or that conflicts with the findings of relevant studies of the Authority or its constituent districts and county councils without suitable justification and mitigation, will not be permitted.
  9. New Green Infrastructure

  10. Green infrastructure proposals shall:
    1. Protect and enhance existing natural and historic environments;
    2. Strengthen connectivity and resilience of ecological networks;
    3. Be locally distinctive through reflecting and enhancing landscape character;
    4. Maximise opportunities to mitigate and adapt to climate change and be resilient to climate change;
    5. Improve quality of life through provision of benefits for health and wellbeing, including
      opportunities to access open space and enjoyment of the Broads and its special qualities;
    6. Incorporate a range of types and sizes of green spaces, green routes and environmental features that are appropriate to the development and the wider green infrastructure network to maximise the delivery of multi-functionality;
    7. Deliver biodiversity net gain;
    8. Support ecosystem services[45]; and
    9. Ensure long-term beneficial maintenance and management of green infrastructure.
    10. Further to i) above, the development shall make provision for long-term post development management and maintenance for all green infrastructure, including provision for community representation and management.
  11. Public Rights of Way and Access

  12. Public Rights of Way and access will be protected, enhanced, and promoted. New development should create convenient and attractive links within development and to the surrounding area, assist with creation of a network of accessible greenspace and provide links to public transport and walking and cycling networks.

Reasoned Justification

The purpose of this policy is to conserve and enhance existing green infrastructure and ensure the provision of new green infrastructure to improve connectivity and access. Green infrastructure is a strategic network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities and it offers important opportunities for sport and recreation as well as providing visual amenity.

The NPPF defines green infrastructure (GI) as ‘a network of multi-functional green space, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for local communities’.Green infrastructure includes:

  • Parks and Gardens – urban parks, Country and Regional Parks, formal gardens
  • Amenity Greenspace – informal recreation spaces, housing green spaces, domestic gardens, village greens, urban commons, other incidental space, green roofs
  • Natural and semi-natural urban and rural greenspaces - woodland and scrub, grassland (e.g., meadow), heath, wetlands, open and running water, brownfield land and disturbed ground, bare rock habitats (e.g. cliffs and quarries)
  • Green corridors – rivers and canals including their banks, hedgerows and other natural features, road and rail corridors, cycling routes, pedestrian paths, commons and public rights of way
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) - see policy PODM8.
  • Other - allotments, community gardens, city farms, cemeteries, and churchyards

There are four elements to the policy:

Existing Green Infrastructure

The first relates to the importance of incorporating existing green infrastructure assets within development proposals and enabling connectivity to other assets nearby (local green infrastructure). This could include reflecting the green infrastructure features on site or nearby – see the Authority’s Biodiversity Enhancements Guide[46]. Ecological network mapping, including the Local Nature Recovery Strategies[47], may identify important areas of green infrastructure, which need to be considered if any proposals are close to or include these areas.

Development proposals and Green Infrastructure

The second element relates to protecting existing assets, as well as ensuring proposals do not affect the ability of our constituent district councils to deliver their green infrastructure strategy recommendations. Some of our districts have green infrastructure strategies that fundamentally benefit the wildlife and visitors of the Broads, but also mitigate the effects of their development requirements and enable the delivery of housing and other development that benefits the community and visitors of the Broads.

New Green Infrastructure

The third element sets out the criteria that any proposals for green infrastructure need to address and the potential benefits, namely that it:

  • contributes to high quality and accessible landscapes for people and wildlife;
  • plays an essential role in delivering, maintaining and enhancing the health of the natural environment and its ability to provide a wealth of ‘ecosystem services’;
  • increases ecological connectivity to overcome habitat fragmentation and to increase the ability of the natural environment to adapt to climate change;
  • in coastal locations, helps to provide recreational space and to enhance and protect our marine environment;
  • creates attractive and accessible places for people to socialise, enjoy direct and regular contact with and learn about the natural environment;
  • strengthens links between urban areas and their surrounding countryside, and brings the natural world into every neighbourhood, with benefits for individual and community health and wellbeing;
  • supports the efficient management of water resources. A network of green spaces reduces the likelihood of flooding by allowing water to permeate through the ground;
  • can also contribute to delivery of sustainable land management;
  • can also create a range of social and economic benefits, both directly (through employment in capital projects and future management) and indirectly (increased visitors and visitor spend);
  • supports functioning ecosystems and robust natural systems for the management of basic resources such as water, clean air, soil, and the maintenance of biodiversity;
  • makes a direct contribution to reducing the effects of climate change; and
  • enhances the self sufficiency of communities though providing local food production and recreational areas.

Public Rights of Way and Access

The fourth element highlights the importance of the Public Right of Way Network and Access.


Any sites created as green infrastructure will need to be maintained. To be effective, this should be done in accordance with an agreed management plan. The works to maintain the asset will need to be resourced in perpetuity to ensure that it continues to function as intended. This will require appropriate developer contributions or a planning obligation.

Other policies of relevance

The previous policy, PODM9 relates to open space and play and may be of relevance to proposals. So too will the Biodiversity Net Gain policy (PODM15) and the Mitigating Recreational Impacts policy (PODM16).

Water open space/blue infrastructure

The water open space of the Broads is enjoyed in many ways such as boating, sailing, canoeing, and water-skiing (where permitted), and by being by the water and in the water (where open water swimming events are permitted and organised). ‘Blue’ infrastructure is also important in the Broads. Many policies in this Local Plan relate to water open space and blue infrastructure, such as water quality, moorings and navigation elements of policies, and the policy on staithes (POSSSTAITHES).


The Broads Integrated Access Strategy and Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework Ecological Networks Study will be used to assist in the implementation of this policy.

It is recommended that, where appropriate and relevant, the Building with Nature Standards Framework be used. The document highlights the qualities that define good green infrastructure. The Core Standards being:

  • Standard 1 Optimises Multifunctionality and Connectivity
  • Standard 2 Positively Responds to the Climate Emergency
  • Standard 3 Maximises Environmental Net Gains
  • Standard 4 Champions a Context Driven Approach
  • Standard 5 Creates Distinctive Places Standard 6 Secures Effective Place-keeping.

There is also the Natural England Green Infrastructure Framework which comprises:

Reasonable alternative options

Original policy

No policy

Sustainability appraisal summary

The following is a summary of the assessment of the policy and alternative(s).

A: Keep original policy : 8 positives. 0 negatives. 0 ? Overall, positive.

B: Amended policy: 8 positives. 0 negatives. 0 ? Overall, positive.

C: No policy: 0 positives. 0 negatives. 8 ?

How has the existing policy been used since adoption in May 2019?

According to recent Annual Monitoring Reports, the policy has been used and applications have been determined in accordance with the policy.

Why has the alternative option been discounted?

An alternative option is to not have a policy. But given the importance of GI to the area, a policy that seeks its protection and enhancement is preferred. The changes firm up the policy as well as bring in reference to the Public Rights of Way network and are favoured.

  • [45] Ecosystem Services are the direct and indirect contributions ecosystems (known as natural capital) provide for human wellbeing and quality of life. This can be in a practical sense, providing food and water and regulating the climate, as well as cultural aspects such as reducing stress and anxiety.

  • [46] Biodiversity Enhancements Design Guide: Broads planning guides (

  • [47] Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) will help to identify suitable locations for nature recovery activities and build support for these from landowners and local people. A LNRS is being produced for Norfolk and Suffolk at the time of writing.