Since it's initial release in November 2006, Northamptonshire's Environmental Chapter and Green Infrastructure Suite has recived accolades and commendations for its contribution to inform the county's directions for growth. The cuit's value to the pracice of Town & Country Planning has ben recognized by many awardies bodies, as has its cutting edge combination of research and design.
The suite was created by River nene Regional Park, and independent Commuity Interest Company creating a green infrastructure network of environmental projects extending from, Daventry to Peterborough linking the towns of Northampton, Towcester, Wellingbotough, Kettering and Corby.
The win follows the commendation awarded for the Northamptonshire Environmental Character and Green Infrastructure Suite (ECA & GI Suite) at the East Midlands Royal Town Planning Institute Awards 2007 last year.
The RNRP Executive Team and key players in the Suite's production attended the annual RTPI Awards Ceremony at the London Hilton on Thursday, 7th February 2008.
The guidance in the ECA&GA Suite has incorporated into the Core Spatial Strategy for North Hamptonshire, and used to inform the directions for growth of the Sustainable Urban Extensions in the growth towns of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough, as well as to provide quidance for strategic and wider environmental land managament.
It is planned that we will support West Northamptonshire in a similar way and continue to develop and promote the concept and delivery of Green Infrastructure as an integral part of the growth agenda, throughout the county.
Its value to the practice of Town and Country Planning was recognized by the RTPI judges who recommended the suite for the award and described it as "Simply the best around".
Following the commendation awarded by the East Midlands Royal Town Planning Institute the Environmental Character and Gree Infrastructure Suite in October, the Suite was also Highly Commended at the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) Awards sponsored by Pitney Bowes MapInfo.
The Awards Dinner tool place at the Thistle, Marble Arch on Thursday 22nd November, and RNRP recieved the Commendation in the innovation and Bet Practice (Local Government) Category.
The judges were looking projects which allowed their organisation to provide a better service to the customer, led to significant changes in working practice within their organisation that in turn resulted in efficienc savings or performance improvements and facilitated and improved the sharing of information. The ECA & GI Suite wa condisered to be innovative, customer friendly and exhibited good partnership working.
The Suite recieved further accolade from the Landscape Institute as the overall winner of the Strategic Landscape Planning Category and being Commended in the Landscape Policy Category.
The Awards Lunch, hosted by Channel 4 News Persenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy took lace at The Brewery, London o 29th November. The Salscey Forest Treetop Walkway also recived a Commendation in the Institute's conveted Design 1-5ha Award.
The Landscape Institute recognised that the main objective of the study was to assess and then integrated the three primary aspects of Northamptonshire's environment: the historic, ecological and current landscape.
The ultimate aim was to deliver a character map and description of the county to inform strategic develpment; inform the preparation of the RSS and local development framworks and help target new development; and assis in the review of Special Landscape Areas designation.
The brief was specifically designed to envourage innovation in the assessment process and ensure that the study would represent an evolution of the landscape character assessment process, whilst conforming to current best practice guidance.
As winners in the Environmental Category the NBEA 2007 acknowledged that the RNRP has created an effective delivery mechanism - in its roles as champion and coordinator,together with the supporting ECA, the regional park has developed a solid approach to green infrastructure delivery. Partnerships with stakeholders and consultees have been crucial to the delvered £4.2m of green infrastructure initiatives and secured a further £4.5m for the development and delivery of further projects.
It also acknowledged the RNRP's work as champions for Green Infrastructure across the region, through the provision of advice, technical support, training, awareness raising, promotion or marketing of green infrastructure assets and information sharing.
In creating a combined and itneractive Environmental Character Assessment and Green Infrastructure suite the RNRP has provided a unique, interactive tool for sustainable environmental planning. Users include urban and rural planners, private sectors developers,environmentalists, special interest groups and the general public.
The suite has helped to indentify areas in which a freen infrastructure can be developed, support strategies for improvng health, fitness and access to nature, improve links between urban and rural areas and influence land management practices.