Green infrastructure - our natural life support system

Green infrastructure is the network of natural environmental components and green and blue spaces that lies within and between the North West's cities, towns and villages which provides multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. In the same way that the transport infrastructure is made up of a network of roads, railways, airports etc. green infrastructure has its own physical components, including parks, rivers, street trees and moorland.

Just as growing communities need to improve and develop their grey infrastructure (ie. roads, sewers, energy distribution etc.), their green infrastructure needs to be upgraded and expanded in line with growth. Green infrastructure differs from conventional approaches to open space planning because it considers multiple functions and benefits in concert with land development, growth management and built infrastructure planning. Successful land conservation in the 21st century needs to be proactive, less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage growth and development. Green infrastructure planning works at national, regional and local levels and is an integral component, essential for building well designed and sustainable communities across the North West.