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Business and community leaders mark first anniversary of environmental partnership

Business and community leaders mark first anniversary of environmental partnership

PUBLISHED ON: 30 NOVEMBER 2018

A partnership looking to boost the natural environment by putting it at the heart of decisions about the environment, economy and communities has marked its first anniversary.

One of the first of its kind in the UK, the Green Halo Partnership brings together organisations from across central southern England to protect and enhance our ‘natural capital’. This is the term given to the benefits we derive from nature such as clean air and water, protection from flooding, food and healthy outdoor activities.

More than 70 representatives from dozens of Green Halo partner organisations attended a conference at Ordnance Survey, Southampton on Tuesday 27 November to mark a successful first year.

The partnership has received wide ranging support over the last 12 months, with architects, wildlife charities, councils, utility businesses, health bodies, universities and civil engineering firms among 70 organisations signed up so far.

This year’s conference hosted several representatives from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), including Green Finance Team Programme Manager Daniel Barwick. Daniel discussed Defra’s work to ensure natural capital is embedded in policy making across all Government departments. He said: ‘Everyone across society has to play a part in trying to improve the natural environment within a generation… National Parks are an exemplar of driving the natural capital approach at a local level.’

Key note speeches were followed by a series of workshops that discussed issues such as:

  • ‘designing in’ natural capital as part of the planning process, with the sustainable welcome centre at Paulton’s Park family theme park in Ower held up as an excellent example
  • working with nature to improve air quality, including how Southampton City Council is consulting on a clean air zone and greening the city to improve air quality in the city and beyond
  • overwhelming evidence that connecting with the natural world can improve our health and wellbeing. Green Halo projects in the pipeline were discussed, including proposals for a new coastal country park at Christchurch.

Alison Barnes, Convenor of the Green Halo Partnership, said: ‘From our discussions at the conference, I think people and communities recognise the value of the natural environment and are reaching a point where they are demanding nature in their lives for its own sake and for the many benefits it brings us.

‘Our partnership’s role is to connect people from across the sectors that share a vision for natural capital, embedding it in their work and catalysing projects which help unlock the benefits that nature gives us, and in doing this help to ensure our environment is able to thrive and sustain us into the future. Over the next year we will be looking to partners to generate ideas and initiate projects across the south of England that put natural capital at their heart.’

For more information or to enquire about becoming a partner, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/greenhalo

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