London Borough of Redbridge appointed us to develop a new Green Urban Landscape Policy for Council Maintained Land, to replace an out-of-date Tree Policy from 1996, to unify management of all green assets, including trees, shrubs and grassed areas.
The new policy highlights the significance of these assets, and the importance of managing them strategically to deliver maximum benefit for the local communities across an urban borough with 40,000 trees, over 200,000m2 of grassed areas, and 128.7 ha of woodland.
The stakeholder engagement process we used to develop the new policy has delivered improved communication within the council and with residents – one of the borough’s desired outcomes – and has provided the first step in a wider work programme including activity by the borough’s Climate Change Corporate Panel and a review of the Biodiversity Plan.
Stakeholder engagement was central to the development of this policy in getting support from across the different council departments and in managing the expectations of community members. Early in the project a series of focus groups were held to hear the views and concerns of stakeholders. Themes emerging from these focus groups were used to develop an online consultation survey which sought views from the wider public. The policy was developed from an understanding of this local policy context and builds the case for improved management of green assets by describing how these can contribute to local goals and align with regional and national strategies. Local need and aspirations were captured in the survey and an action plan for future work was produced.
The consultant at Eunomia who led the project Star Molteno said: “With national government and hundreds of local authorities declaring a climate and/or ecological emergency, at the same time as tackling one of the biggest public health crises we’ve faced, reviewing and updating policies like this is important. Our natural assets in urban areas provide spaces for us to enjoy being in nature and encourage outdoor activity, allow people to meet, and improve our well-being. In addition, if managed well, they provide healthy spaces for wildlife to flourish, improve air quality, and can be used as one of the tools in our toolkit to addressing climate change.”
Peter Marshall, Principal Arboricultural and Horticultural Officer at London Borough of Redbridge said: “It has been a challenge to produce the Green Urban Landscape Policy for Council maintained land, especially as it had to be carried out without meeting in person due to the pandemic. Eunomia’s lead in the process and development of the policy has been invaluable, especially their expertise in analysing numerous local, regional and national documents, chairing informative working parties, writing and then interpreting a successful resident consultation and our regular meetings. The process that we followed to produce the policy has been essential, as our initial concept for the policy changed and improved as we engaged with hundreds of people and the future success in the policy will be achieved by continuing this engagement and promoting resident’s ownership and enjoyment of the area they live in. The policy will be a live document for us and should help make the London Borough of Redbridge a great place to live as a family.”
Featured image: Claybury Meadow Bank after becoming one of the councils 9 ‘no mow’ sites