Green spaces provide economic boost

9th September 2013


Newsgreen

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  • Natural resources ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Ecodesign ,
  • Biodiversity

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IEMA

Investing in parks, green roofs and river restoration can bring tangible economic benefits locally, according to a new study commissioned by Defra and Natural England

Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the Economics for the Environment Consultancy examined a series of green infrastructure projects from around the world and found that establishing more green spaces had financial benefits in addition to increased delivery of ecosystems services. Such benefits include job creation, boosting property prices and attracting new businesses and visitors to an area.

“The evidence shows that increasing the attractiveness of an area through investment in high-quality parks increases inward investment and property values in the proximity [and] impacts on the number of visitors attracted to, and spending in, the local area,” states the report.

The research cites the Glasgow green renewal programme as an example of such success. It has seen a 28% increase in the number of people working in the area and a 47% rise in council tax revenue following a £15.5 million park improvement project.

Meanwhile, the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, Korea, coupled with the creation of “manmade” wetlands and forests, has helped to boost tourist spend by £1.3 million. The initiative has also helped to reduce local temperatures by 3°C–6°C compared with other parts of the city, and cut levels of particulate air pollution by 35%.

The economic benefits of such initiatives are harder to demonstrate at the national level, however, with the report warning that visitors and financial investment brought into one area could potentially divert resources from other parts of the country.

Although the clearest national benefits from green infrastructure are those related to environmental cost savings and healthier populations, the study says these are also the most easily overlooked by policymakers because they are difficult to quantify and typically occur over a long time.

The report came as the largest green wall in London was completed at the Rubens at the Palace hotel in Victoria (pictured above).

The 21-metre high wall contains more than 10,000 plants and 16 tonnes of soil and was designed to reduce flooding in the area. Up to 10,000 litres of rainwater can be harvested by the wall and stored in tanks at the hotel. It will also improve air quality, deaden noise and help to regulate the hotel’s temperature throughout the year.


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