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European Commission adopts new green infrastructure strategy

The European Commission has adopted a new strategy for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, ‘and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning’.

The commission has recognised that GI ‘is a tried and tested tool that uses nature to provide ecological, economic and social benefits’.

Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik says: ‘Building green infrastructure is often a good investment for nature, for the economy and for jobs. We should provide society with solutions that work with nature instead of against it, where that makes economic and environmental sense.’

The commission’s new strategy will focus on promoting GI in the main policy areas such as agriculture, forestry, nature, water, marine and fisheries, regional and cohesion policy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, transport, energy, disaster prevention and land use policies. By the end of 2013, it will develop guidance to show how green infrastructure can be integrated into the implementation of these policies from 2014 to 2020.

The strategy will also look at improving research and data, strengthening the knowledge base and promoting innovative technologies that support green infrastructure and improving access to finance for green infrastructure projects. it will also support EU-level GI projects. The commission says that it will set up an EU financing facility by 2014 together with the European Investment Bank to support green infrastructure projects. By the end of 2015 it will also carry out a study to assess the opportunities for developing an EU-wide network of green infrastructure.

By the end of 2017, it will review progress on developing GI and publish a report on the lessons learnt together with recommendations for future action.

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