What does good green and blue infrastructure policy look like: a comparative assessment of UK national planning guidance

Alister Scott*, Max Hislop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper assesses the potential of a Green Infrastructure (GI) Policy Assessment Tool (GIPAT) to assess the efficacy of national planning guidance across all four devolved UK nations. National guidance is a key material consideration to the formulation and implementation of GI policies in statutory development plans and decision-making. Hitherto, there has been a lack of holistic assessments of GI policy in spatial planning with most attention on specific developments. GIPAT was informed by three GI initiatives; - Building with Nature, Central Scotland Green Network and Mainstreaming GI, supported by a global academic literature to address key multifunctional and mainstreaming components within 26 assessment criteria. The tool assessed, with justification, how well national guidance met the assessment criteria, together with the strength of policy wording. The results reveal a significant weakness in policy wording across all countries highlighting GI vulnerability . In terms of coverage, biodiversity and ecological networks generally score well but there are deficiencies in stewardship, blue infrastructure and mainstreaming demanding greater policy attention. There are important implications for development plan policy(ies) highlighting the need for greater integration of grey, blue and GI and improved mainstreaming as illuminated through exemplar policies. We recommend the use of Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI) to address the blue deficiency. The paper concludes with a discussion about GIPAT’s wider transferability and the need for greater research into how policies are translated into development plans and decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number128440
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Early online date18 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2024

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