Sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good services for all.
The Sustainable Land Trust uses up-to-date research and practice to benefit nature and society both in urban and rural landscapes. The NL:NC programme works with developers, managing agents, and most importantly communities to assess, quantify and value natural capital assets. Assets include existing and new habitats, allotments, parks and open spaces.
New developments and regeneration schemes often result in the creation of new communities who stand to benefit the most from carefully designed sustainable landscapes and natural areas. Such new landscapes should have at their heart the aim of providing community cohesion, health and wellbeing benefits, opportunities for employment, education, and leisure. Provision of biodiverse landscapes help to root people in their area, and can support adoption of a sense of place and cultural belonging. Such values can be made explicit to new communities, where natural assets are enjoyed on a day to day basis.
Consideration of the services and functions of ecosystems, and their value as natural assets spans all stages of the planning and development process. The market for payment for ecosystem services (PES) is growing with payments for carbon capture, watershed services, biodiversity conservation and pollination being the most common. Others include willingness to pay linked with house prices; tourism, recreation and education schemes; residents service charges; health and wellbeing programmes, and the material value of natural resources (e.g. as products or produce for sale or processing).
The Trust provides a wide range of consultancy services to improve planning and development projects.
The team has extensive experience at all levels from providing protected species surveys on small scale schemes, to helping to assess a wide range of sustainability issues and providing third party accreditation for major developments.
See our consultancy page for more details.
The Trust provides BRE accredited BREEAM Communities assessments for masterplans and regeneration projects. It benefits local authorities, developers, masterplanners, and the local people who live and work in its communities.
The BREEAM Communities approach includes:
The BREEAM Communities approach recognises that large scale regeneration and development proposals evolve and take a long time to reach fruition, thus is staged to follow existing masterplan design phases.
Step 1 is applied at the early stages of planning and design and identifies the main sustainability issues and creates a framework for assessment. Consultation and involvement of existing and new communities is crucial at this stage. Working with local people, stakeholders, agencies and others, the aim is to identify issues and opportunities and prioritise these so they can be incorporated in future steps, and set the principles for the development.
Step 2 determines the layout of the design and includes detailed requirements considering how people will be move around and through the site and where buildings and amenities will be located.
Step 3 creates more detailed design including the design and specification of landscaping, sustainable urban drainage solutions, and other sustainability measures.
BREEAM Communities is supportive in
The approaches taken by the Trust in supporting communities and maximising ecosystem services provides multiple benefits and results in well thought out projects and plans. The Town & Country Planning Association promote the principles first imagined by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898.
Garden cities (and villages) were intended to be self contained communities that included the best aspects of urban and rural living. The Garden City Movement has influenced development planning and most large scale regeneration schemes in the UK are now using the principles to create communities that are sustainable and resilient.
The Sustainable Land Trust has experience in working with the Garden City/ Village concept, using appropriate methods at each stage of the planning and development cycle:
Newton on Trent Garden Village, Lincolnshire
This 42 acre site masterplan is for a 350 dwelling mixed use rural development which will provide an extension to the existing village. The village is in decline through the loss of community facilities; suffers an aging population; and a lack of natural and open spaces. The Sustainable Land Trust were commissioned to project manage the masterplan and ensure that the proposal achieved the highest levels of sustainability, community benefit and biodiversity gain. Holding the only Midlands BREEAM Communities assessor license the Trust aims to achieve ‘excellent’ from the Building Research Establishment.
The Trust carried out baseline biodiversity surveys and ecosystem service assessments at the earliest stage to inform the final proposal. Community consultations at the outset helped to identify issues and opportunities that spaces and landscapes could address. The Trust’s BREEAM Communities Assessor worked closely with landscape architects, flood experts, remediation specialists, archaeologists, and the wider development team, to shape the final masterplan and create a sustainable development that met social and environmental needs and aspirations.