Thursday 27 October 2016
The University of Northampton’s Dr Janet Jackson, Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Management, has played an important role in a new report which aims to improve our town’s green spaces.
Northampton Borough Council’s Green Infrastructure Implementation Plan, delivered in partnership with Fiona Fyfe Associates Ltd and Countryscape, involved Janet facilitating workshops and sharing her expertise.
Dr Jackson, who moved to the town in 1971, specifically advised on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (surface run off retention systems which prevent flood risks), and urban ecology. Report author Fiona Fyfe praised Janet’s “expertise, as well as encyclopaedic local knowledge”.
The project defined Green Infrastructure components – such as parks and open spaces, and identified priority projects that could be funded through collaborative schemes or community grants. The plan aims to act as a tool for local communities, partners and planners to enable them to create, maintain and enhance green spaces within the town. This will include consideration of “ecosystem services”, which are the services delivered by natural areas which support people’s prosperity, health, and wellbeing.
Dr Janet Jackson explained: “This project is one of the first in the UK, where a local authority was willing to look at detailed practicalities of delivering good quality Green Infrastructure projects at the strategic landscape scale across the whole borough. I have lived in Northampton since I was a teenager and this project was a fantastic opportunity to share my local knowledge and my professional academic expertise. I am particularly proud that this toolkit will be used to inspire planners and local communities alike, to look for new opportunities for biodiversity, improve access to green space, and enhance our quality of life in a rapidly developing town.”
Northampton Borough Council has estimated project costs so that they are ready to be implemented when funding opportunities arise, and they have created an interactive map which provides more information about the local Green Infrastructure Network components and project locations.
Green Infrastructure: a guide
What is green infrastructure?
Northampton’s Green Infrastructure is a mixture open spaces and the routes that link them. It is made up of places like parks, woodlands and lakes. It includes street trees, allotments, pocket parks, recreation grounds and green travel routes along the rivers, brooks, the Canal, cycle ways and public footpaths.
Why is green infrastructure important?
Northampton’s network is used by residents and visitors for sports and leisure activities or simply to relax and enjoy nature. Increasingly acknowledged as contributing to our health and wellbeing,, Green Infrastructure draws communities together and is home for wildlife. These green corridors help animals, birds and plants move from place to place but importantly, they will play a vital role in our future resilience to flooding and climate change.