Download an electronic copy of SPACE(pdf, 1.8MB, New Window)

riverneneregionalpark.org

Download an electronic copy of SPACE(pdf, 1.8MB, New Window)

SPACEAN INSIGHT INTO THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK INITIATIVEAUTUMN/WINTER 2007 ISSUE 3CONTACT THE RNRP TEAM: RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK, C/O NORTHAMPONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL,PO BOX 221, FIRST FLOOR, JOHN DRYDEN HOUSE, 8-10 THE LAKES, NORTHAMPTON NN4 7DDT: 0044 (0) 1604 237648 F: 0044 (0) 1604 236696 E: RNRP@NORTHAMPTONSHIRE.GOV.UKWWW.RIVERNENEREGIONALPARK.ORGIN THIS ISSUEPROJECT ENABLING | PLACEMAKING | CHAMPION FOR GI | ENABLING CARBON OFFSET | CENTRE OF ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE


PROJECT ENABLINGTHECORE THEMESPLACE-MAKINGTHE CHAMPION FOR GREENINFRASTRUCTURE ACROSSTHE REGIONENABLING CARBON OFFSETAND ADDRESSING CLIMATECHANGETHE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCEFOR ENVIRONMENTALINITIATIVES AND INNOVATIONALL RNRP PROJECTS ENCOMPASSFIVE CORE THEMES. THESE MAYBE APPLICABLE SINGULARLY ORIN COMBINATION IN ANY RNRPPROJECT AND AREFUNDAMENTAL TO THEDEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY OFSUCCESSFUL SUSTAINABLEINITIATIVES. THE THEMES AREHIGHLIGHTED ON THE INSIDECOVER AND WILL BEILLUSTRATED WITH CASE STUDIESTHROUGHOUT THIS EDITION.They are as follows:1. PROJECT ENABLING 4-8The development and delivery of projects in this theme are supported by RNRP using a combination oftangible and signature projects which contribute to encouraging biodiversity and enhancing heritageand culture by using the environment for education and social development, leisure, recreation andhealthy living and, importantly, economic regeneration.2. PLACE-MAKING 9-10, 15-17RNRP has community interest at its core, and will ensure that projects under this theme contribute tomaintaining or creating a unique sense of place. These projects aim to celebrate or reinforce the localidentity and, where appropriate, to acquire sites for the RNRP CIC, community or partner ownershipthrough the investment of resources, whether money or time.3. THE CHAMPION FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS THE REGION 11-12The RNRP partnership is the champion for the concept of Green Infrastructure. It does this throughthe provision of advice, technical support, training, awareness raising, promotion or marketing ofgreen infrastructure assets and information sharing and challenges current views on sustainableenvironmental development. RNRP promotes Green Infrastructure (GI) as a sustainable concept thatcan deliver tangible improvements to social, economic and environmental well-being.4. ENABLING CARBON OFFSET AND ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE 13-14Projects under this theme support the RNRP partnership programme of research into climate changeand carbon offsetting principles, raising awareness and seeking positive measures to reduce theeffects. They use innovative environmental technologies, offset carbon emissions and promote theissue of climate change. They also co-ordinate and communicate among partners these issues ofregional, national and international concern.This framework of core themes, which is illustrated in more detail throughout this document, hasserved RNRP well by ensuring that partnership proposals are clearly focussed and appropriatelytargeted, placing it at the forefront of environmental organisations in the UK. It also serves as astepping stone towards achieving the “RNRP vision for 2016”.5. THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FORENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES AND INNOVATION 18-21In all its projects RNRP strives to incorporate new and innovative ways of working, using the latestdesign, technology, research and development. Projects under this theme help establish the RNRPas a centre of excellence and add value to the local economy.3


THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARKTHE VISIONPROJECTSFROM ITS INCEPTION IN 2003, THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK(RNRP) HAS GROWN FROM AN INFORMAL PARTNERSHIP OFORGANISATIONS WITH VARIOUS INTERESTS IN ENVIRONMENTALMANAGEMENT – INTO AN AWARD WINNING, ROBUST NETWORKOF PARTNERS; A FORMALLY CONSTITUTED COMMUNITYINTEREST COMPANY (CIC) - GENERATING NATIONAL ANDINTERNATIONAL INTERESTThrough pioneering project delivery andchampioning the Green Infrastructure concept,RNRP is widely recognised as the leadingenvironmental delivery vehicle. Their approachenables GI advancements at a sub regionallevel, responding directly to the needs of theregions dynamic growth areas.To date, the RNRP partnership has delivered£4.2 million of GI projects and secured a further£4.5 million for the development and delivery offuture projects, as well as developing a strategicframework for the delivery of GI across the area.In total, it has secured external and partnershipfunding leading to a total spend of £12 millionon environmental initiatives inNorthamptonshire and the South Milton Keynesgrowth areas.Key to RNRP’s success was its business-likeapproach to environmental management, itsorganisational structure and the partnershipcoordination and delivery of environmentalinitiatives - securing tangible environmental,social and economic benefits.These aspirations have effectively been capturedin the business plan, formally adopted in June2007. This includes the following Vision forRNRP, established to act as a framework for thedevelopment of the RNRP over the course of theperiod until April 2008. During this time keydevelopments will be in place and furtherdefinition for the partnership will be secured.“By 2016 the RNRP partnership will be anindependent, inclusive, reciprocal and beneficialpartnership of public, private and third sectormembers. It will be nationally andinternationally recognised as the centre ofexcellence for the piloting, co-ordination anddelivery of regional sustainable development. Itwill address strategic issues such as climatechange, the enhancement of local biodiversityand the innovative development of theenvironment as an asset for social development,education, leisure & recreation, heritage &cultural activity, and as a primary vehicle ofeconomic regeneration.”The plan is aspirational and ambitious. Thevision encapsulates the desire of RNRP tocontinue to evolve and plan for the challengesand opportunities ahead; to secure funding anddevelop partnership working, as well as adaptto legislation, in the changing context of the UKand EU.The five core themes are at the heart of thebusiness plan which were developed by thepartnership, and provide a clear focus for theselection and development of new initiatives.REINFORCING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE GROUND WITH ASTRONG PROGRAMME OF GREENSPACE PROJECTS, THE RNRP’SNETWORK IS GROWING...July saw the opening of TOP LODGE, thegateway to the northern end of the RegionalPark, in Fineshade Woods (see over).The area between Crick and Yelvertoft hasbenefited from ‘CONNECTING PEOPLE ANDPLACE’, a Rights of Way partnership projectover recent months. Fencing, bollards and finalsurfacing have been implemented formingvaluable links between the villages, and also toa millennium woodland and Cracks Hill CountryPark. The path is now well- used by thecommunity who are benefiting from greateraccess to these breathtaking greenspaces.BREATHING SPACES is another exciting seriesof projects aimed at providing robust green linksalong the River Nene connecting the urbancentres of Northampton and Wellingborough.Three green spaces next to the Brampton armof the River Nene in central Northampton arebeing improved to provide inspiring places onpeoples’ doorsteps. Victoria Park is a formal,Victorian park, with avenues of well establishedtrees, Miller’s Meadow, to the north, and FootMeadows, to the south, are more informalspaces, part of the river floodplain, though theyrarely flood now. Improvements have been madeto the paths, entrance areas and play areas, anda small open air amphitheatre has been createdin Miller’s Meadow. A launch / opening eventwith local press took place on 7th June, wherelocal school children were invited to use the newplay equipment. Further planned improvementinclude habitat creation, the use of the riverthrough fishing and dipping platforms, publicart, and works to improve the waterside areas.Also part of the project were Woodlands LingsWood (home of the Northamptonshire WildlifeTrust) and Fox Covert in the Eastern District ofNorthampton. Pathways around this woodlandsite, combined with the an education centre forschools and a ‘Forest Schools’ site, encouragechildren or young adults to grow in confidenceand independence whilst developing a sense of‘self’ and a basic understanding ofnatural processes.The project improves access to the site and alsothe woodland habitat, including clearance ofnon-native trees. Signs have been installed tohelp people find their way between Lings Woodand the nearby Fox Covert.Further works at the popular STANWICK LAKEShave involved a dramatic new outdoor theatre.Enclosed by a semi- circular screen of wovenwillow, with its expansive, watery backdrop, aseries of stepped grass banks create aninformal seating system providing the audiencewith a relaxed, airy setting. The inaugralperformance took place on the 30th June.Plans for a bicycle hire building and associatedinnovative visitor centre are also underway.45


PROJECTS continuedOngoing work with the FERMYNWOODSINTERNATIONAL ART PROJECT has seen aseries of educational events delivered withFermynwoods Contemporary Art Gallery and theForestry Commission. ‘Out to Art’ encompassed12 school days and a family day with 5 differentartists working on their own art work as well asrunning one hour art workshops each day in thewoods. The children were led on a (muddy!!) trailstarting at the Gallery, interacting with eachartist through ‘on the spot’ workshops on theway, and ending at Sudborough Green Lodge.For the artists this meant a chance to developnew work as well deliver the walks andworkshops. Installations from Dens, to gold leafplants, to a tank made from mud & straw, tometal boxes in trees, to a tent cinema and a fishand a bag of horse manure hanging in a tree allappeared in the ancient Fermynwoods as a partof these walks. When asked the question, all thechildren commented that coming out to thewoods and working with the artists was the bestschool trip they had ever been on!!‘I LEARNT THAT ART ISN’TJUST ABOUT DRAWING’PUPIL, STANION PRIMARY SCHOOL‘The best aspect of the day was all of it. My classlearnt many different approaches to art’ Teacher,Gretton Primary SchoolAnother extremely successful initiative has beenthe ENVIRONMENTAL GRANTS Scheme. Contactwith communities, landowners and charitableorganisations has been the work of the RNRPLand Advisor and the Green InfrastructureCommunity Development Worker - groups andindividuals have accessed the grant schemethrough these channels. See later in this editionfor more information.RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK SUPPORTS PROJECTSUSING A GREEN INFRASTRUCTUREENVIRONMENTAL GRANT SCHEMETOP LODGETOP LODGE AT FINESHADE WOODSWAS FORMALLY OPENED ON 26THJUNE 2007 WITH AN AFTERNOON OFCHAMPAGNE AND STRAWBERRIES!!THE NEW £1 MILLION COMPLEXDRAWS TOGETHER THE CULTURAL,NATURAL AND INDUSTRIAL THREADSTHAT MAKE THE AREA UNIQUE.The Top Lodge complex includes a learningcentre, a craft market for products made in theRockingham Forest, the Red Kite centre, a localproduce café, and a play area to set young mindsfree. The site is a cutting edge demonstration ofboth active forestry and sustainability.One of the biggest reed bed sewage systems inthe country has also been incorporated into thecomplex. This odourless, self-contained,oxygenated by solar power, beautiful plant cancope with 500,000 visitors every year, a14- house estate and 85- berth caravan site, alsopart of the site. Rainwater falling on the roofs atTop Lodge will flush the toilets en route to afive- tier cleansing process which provideshomes to frogs and newts, giving life to a wetland.The site is home to the Forest’s Red Kite Projectand the RSPB shop, packed with goodies alsohas screens showing live streaming from RedKite’s nests. The Lodge Café is a wonderfuleating place promoting local produce andhealthy food. Key to the café’s cuisine will be arange of seasonal fare on offer 7 days a week.INTEREST IN THE ENVIRONMENTALGRANT SCHEME HAS GROWN, WITH ATOTAL OF £329,358 NOW COMMITTEDTO 27 PROJECTS, VALUED AT A TOTALOF £908,933. NOW CLOSED FOR2007-8 APPLICATIONS, BUT IT ISHOPED THAT THE SCHEME WILL BERUNNING AGAIN IN 2008-9. OF THE35 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED 77%HAVE BEEN APPROVED. FOR EACH£1 OF GRANT FUNDING ALLOCATEDA FURTHER £1.76 HASBEEN ATTRACTED.Other projects have led to the restoration ofhistoric or environmentally significant sites suchas allotments sites, creating water supply forallotments, conservation of some Grade I listedbuildings and Scheduled Ancient Monument onthe at risk register, production of a leaflet topromote access to a historic gardens,Also 22% of projects were education based suchas the production of educational andinterpretation material and the creation of aschool environment garden.Partners have included schools, land owners,‘friends of’ organisations, parish councils, a historicbuilding preservation trust, charities, communitygroups, the RSPB, English Partnerships, theNational Trust and the Wildlife Trust.Of the projects approved nearly 67% had anelement of habitat and species conservation. One of the smaller projects was at BramblesideThese included conservation work such as hedge School in Kettering where £1500, went to produceThe Visitor Centre is heated by a modern woodand tree planting, pond and wetland creation, a wildlife garden and a small area of allotmentchip boiler fueled by locally grown coppice. This Courses, demonstrations and ranger- led walkspond clearance and access, work on survey and for the children to grow crops. Interpretationwarms the water used by the thousands of from the new visitor- centre will be another wayhabitat restoration for the Biodiversity Action panels were drawn by the children and producedvisitors expected to visit annually. Reinstating that people can learn about RockinghamPlan species Black Hairstreak (butterfly) and by the school and are now on show in the garden.coppice management is a key aim of the Ancient Forest’s rich diversity of wildlife. Many of thewoodland management. As well as a bat and bird The largest project was at Wothorpe TowersWoodland Project. As well as creating astalls on show in the courtyard will offer goodsbox and habitat creation project, and landwhere a 17th century building is being preservedrenewable fuel source, as it has done forreflecting the ancient forest crafts that haveacquisition near Northampton for habitatand historic landscape recreated. Otherthousands of years, local timber means lower been practiced in the area for centuries.creation and flood risk limitation and atinteresting events included training surveyors fortransport costs and fewer carbon- emittingGlapthorn for habitat creation.the Black Hairstreak surveys, this happened atroad miles.Glapthorn Cow Pastures in mid June.6 7


ENVIRONMENTAL GRANT SCHEME LOCATIONSAWARDSAS PROJECTS ARE BECOMING ESTABLISHED ON THE GROUND, NATIONAL AND REGIONALRECOGNITION FOR THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK IS GROWING FAST…Following the certificate of merit awarded byEast Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) as partof its Environmental Award in 2005,acknowledging the innovative work beingundertaken to improve the environment,particularly the work at Salcey Forest. 2006 alsosaw the Treetop Way awarded the BritishConstruction Industry Environment Award. It wasshortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Better PublicBuilding Award and the Small Civil EngineeringProject Award. The British Construction IndustryAwards were jointly sponsored by theCommission for Architecture and the BuiltEnvironment (CABE) and the Office ofGovernment Commerce (OGC).THE JUDGES DESCRIBED THETREE TOP TRAIL AS:“DELIGHTFUL AND USEABLE”AND “A GREAT ECO-PROJECT,WHICH HAS DRAWN CROWDSOF ENTHUSIASTIC VISITORS”.THEY PRAISED THE FACT THATTHE PROJECT USES "LOCALLYSOURCED TIMBER, AND GIVESCHILDREN AND ADULTS ALIKEA COMPLETELY NEWEXPERIENCE OF TREESAND FOREST”In January 2007 the project received a furtherAward from CABE as Jason Longhurst wasawarded a CABE Festive Five Award. Festive FiveAwards are given to individuals or organisationswhose ‘forward thinking and high aspirationshave resulted in high quality buildings andspaces’. Jason was named as an individualwinner in recognition of the pivotal role he hasplayed in the development and championing ofthe Regional Park.Earlier this year the RNRP team also enteredthe Northamptonshire ECA and GI suite into theRoyal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards2007 in the Sustainable Communities orE-Government categories. In February it wasannounced that the Regional Park had beenshortlisted, and the judges visited for anin-depth presentation of the suite in July.The RTPI award programmes are designed toencourage and reward outstanding achievementin planning. They aim to celebrate thecontribution made by the planning profession tothe quality of life throughout the UK, and toraise awareness and understanding ofpioneering work.8 9


AWARDS continuedRNRP have also submitted entries for the Landscape InstituteAwards 2007, covering:■ Design 1-5 ha: The Salcey Forest Treetop Walkway■ Communications and Presentation: The River Nene Regional Park Concept■ Landscape Policy: Northamptonshire’s Green Infrastructure StudyCREATING SUCCESSFULGREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PLANSTHE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF GREENINFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING - DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE AND AMBITIOUSAPPROACHES ALONG THE WAY. IN ADDITION, THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARKAPPROACH HAS BEEN COMPLEMENTED BY WORK CARRIED OUT AT A REGIONALLEVEL, IDENTIFYING WHERE THE PUBLIC BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN GREENINFRASTRUCTURE WOULD BE MOST PRONOUNCED. THIS HAS RESULTED IN AHIERARCHY OF SUSTAINABLE PLANNING TOOLS THAT COVER THE REGIONAL,SUB-REGIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS.THE LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE AWARDSARE PRESENTED TO ENCOURAGE ANDRECOGNISE OUTSTANDING EXAMPLESOF WORK BY THE LANDSCAPEPROFESSION. THE AWARDS AIM TOBRING GREATER AWARENESS OF THEBEST CONTRIBUTIONS FROMLANDSCAPE INSTITUTE MEMBERS INCREATING AN IMPROVEDENVIRONMENT. JUDGING AND SITEVISITS ARE TAKING PLACE BETWEENJULY AND OCTOBER 2007 SO WE’LLWATCH THIS SPACE!Other award submissions have been made to the‘Green Week’ Green Construction Awards.Focusing on the ways that the constructionsector can respond to these increasingpressures, ‘Green Week’ offers a chance to learnnew skills and strategies from some of the mostexperienced names in sustainable construction,while networking with others who are facing thesame challenges. The inaugural GreenConstruction Awards will recogniseorganisations that have already made the firstimportant steps towards sustainableconstruction, providing the example for the restof the industry to follow.Jason Longhurst appeared in ‘Insider’magazine’s Midlands 42 under 42 feature whichidentifies and profiles a new crop of regionalentrepreneurs (North West, Yorkshire andMidlands) under the age of 42 every year. Thecore criteria are that they be aged 42 or underand making a real difference in a businesslargely based in the Midlands.To submit an application, contenders had to fillin a detailed questionnaire, ending with... ‘If youwere struck in a lift with one person for tenminutes, and had a chance to tell them what youreally thought, who would it be and what wouldyou tell them?’!!Green infrastructure is essentially a network ofgreen spaces which should be multi-functional,providing benefits for people, nature and theenvironment. They are often important forregeneration, providing a setting for economicinvestment and are essential for thedevelopment of sustainable communities, wherepeople want to live and work, thus providingbenefits for the environment. Advance planningis critical in developing successful greeninfrastructure and building an effective networkis at the heart of the concept.Green infrastructure planning offersmany benefits:■ Green infrastructure can be integrated intoregional and local planning, providing a goodevidence base for decision making■ Green infrastructure planning can be acatalyst that brings together differentorganisations to deliver sustainabledevelopment, sharing skills, experiences,opportunities and resources.■ The environment is better able to support andmaintain natural and ecological processes tosustain land, air and water resources.■ Communities are better to live, work andinvest in■ Places are developed to be full of character,function well, and be well connectedand appealing■ Closer relationships are forged betweenurban and rural areas■ Green infrastructure will support needs ofboth urban and rural communities for food,energy, water supply and waste treatment■ Green infrastructure brings holistic solutionsto climate change and other complex issuesat different scales.The benefits of green infrastructure to theenvironment, society and the economy are beingincreasingly recognised, with national and localgovernment policies supporting this, greeninfrastructure planning is evolving into amainstream concern.Many organisations are starting to carry outgreen infrastructure plans, however the lack ofa common approach, or awareness of how greeninfrastructure planning has been carried out inother areas is resulting in differing outputs. Thedanger is that plans for adjacent areas will notbe compatible.For this reason, the River Nene Regional Parkhas published a document which shows theapproach to green infrastructure planning at aregional, sub-regional and local level. Thisenables us to share the knowledge from ourpioneering work in green infrastructureplanning, and provide information for thedevelopment of a standard approach.The work identified ten ‘highlights’ that are keyto good green infrastructure planning;■ Realising the scale of the opportunity■ Leadership in decision making bodies■ Skills in client and consultant teams■ Robust process■ Using information about EnvironmentalCharacter to inform greeninfrastructure planning■ Putting sustainability at the heart ofmulti-functional green spaces■ Working in partnership and creating consensus■ Clear and effective consultation■ Embedding green infrastructure policies inthe planning system■ Embracing innovation in green infrastructure.It is anticipated that this shared knowledgewill enable many areas to benefit from theapproach piloted in the East Midlands and theRiver Nene Regional Park, and that excellentand compatible green infrastructure plans willbe developed for many areas across the UKand beyond.10 11


THE EAST MIDLANDSGREEN INFRASTRUCTURE NETWORK EMGINCLIMATECHANGECLIMATE CHANGE IS PROBABLY THE GREATEST CHALLENGE THE INTERNATIONALCOMMUNITY HAS FACED TO DATE, WHICH MAY MAKE IT SEEM TOO DAUNTING A TASK TOADDRESS AT A LOCAL LEVEL. HOWEVER, WE ALL CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAUSES OF THISCHANGE BY OUR USE OF ENERGY THAT, IN TURN, CAUSES THE RELEASE OF CARBONEMISSIONS INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. CONSEQUENTLY, WE CAN ALL HELP TO REDUCETHESE EMISSIONS BY MINIMISING OUR USE OF ENERGY, REDUCING HEATING LEVELSAND WALKING ON SHORT JOURNEYS RATHER THAN DRIVING.LAUNCHED BY EMRA AT A CONFERENCE AT MELTON MOWBRAY ON THE 24THAPRIL 2006, THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF A GREEN INFRASTRUCTURENETWORK (GIN) WAS WARMLY WELCOMED BY DELEGATES FROM THE PUBLIC,PRIVATE AND VOLUNTARY SECTORS FROM BOTH REGIONAL AND LOCALORGANISATIONS. THE RATIONALE OF THIS NETWORK WAS TO PROVIDE A POINTOF CONTACT AND REFERENCE THAT WOULD OFFER THE BENEFITS OF KEEPINGMEMBERS ABREAST OF NEWS, NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND INFORMATIONEXCHANGE BUT NOT ADD TO THE BURDEN OF ATTENDING ADDITIONALINTER-AGENCY MEETINGS.The East Midlands Green Infrastructure Network(EMGIN) has its own website www.emgin.co.uk ,which is sponsored by RNRP, EMRA, EMDA, andNE, and also EA and Sport England. Aimed at GIpractitioners, membership is free and givesaccess to the membership area where it ispossible to book places to free workshops andevents on line.As the site develops it will become a knowledgebase for the delivery of GI projects across theregion and members will receive the occasionale-newsletter. There will also be the opportunity toinfluence the development of GIN by respondingto an online questionnaire.priorities in the Integrated Regional Strategy. ThePBMP document highlights the benefits that GIcan deliver across the region and also uses arange of indicators to assess those areas whereinvestment in GI would produce the greatestpublic benefit.The EMGIN site also provides a link to theNorthamptonshire Environmental CharacterAssessment and Green Infrastructure suite(ECA&GI suite) produced by RNRP and givesdetailed and interactive map, image and textbased access to the whole of the county ofNorthamptonshire.However, although “offsetting” can be achievedby the planting of woodlands, or improving landmanagement, the international market onlysupports such projects overseas. Consequently,although the green taxes will be levied onbusinesses and communities in the UK, thefunding will be not be used to support schemesin the UK. The Government is also promotingthe Climate Challenge, a programme intendedto raise awareness of the issues around climatechange and to change behaviours througheducational initiatives.RNRP, whilst supporting the government’sobjectives to reduce the effects of climatechange and raise awareness of the need tochange attitudes and behaviours, considers thatthese represent the loss of a major opportunity.In its proposal document “CLIMATE CHANGE -Meeting the Challenge”, accessible on thewww.riverneneregionalpark.org website, it putsforward an innovative approach to convertingthese objectives into a virtuous circle.recreational and leisure facilities as well assupporting green tourism, supporting the localeconomy and improving local access, therebyincreasing choice.This proposal would ensure that UK green taxpayers would be able to see, and contribute to,the implementation of tangible environmentalprojects in their areas, all or which would havesocial and economic benefits and help toaddress the causes of climate change.The document sets out the case to thegovernment and regional agencies, as well as tothe public, private and third sectors, as a focusfor the groundswell of support from partnersand agencies to see a positive approach toclimate change being adopted in the UK.At a national scale, following on from the Stern This green tax funding will be used to supportReview, the Government announced plans for overseas investment, not addressing activity inthe introduction of Green or Environmental the UK. The proposal is for RNRP to act as theTaxes and pledged support for an international environmental delivery vehicle and use anmarket trading in Carbon Credits. Theseallocation from these taxes to support a range ofEMGIN IS ANOTHER EXCITING DEVELOPMENT THAT SUPPORTS PLANNINGmeasures will allow organisations to sell credits environmental and associated initiatives. TheseEMGIN provides links to a number of key GI AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND PLACES THE ENVIRONMENT ATwhere they have not used their full allocation, include projects that support Environmentaldocuments, including the Public Benefit MappingProject (PBMP), which was commissioned and THE HEART OF THE PROCESS. IT ALSO DEMONSTRATES THE COMMITMENTand for others to buy these credits or to “offset” Climate Change, including planting to reducetheir use of energy.the risk of flooding, supporting Research andpublished by EMRA, one of whose aims has been THAT THE REGION HAS TO CHAMPIONING GI AND INTEGRATEDInnovation and investing in Green Energyto ensure that the delivery of GI is one of five key ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT.Development. All these areas would provideopportunities for the development of education,12 13


The RNRP is currently seeking to secure thenecessary investment and direct funding, as anallocation from the green and environmentaltaxes levied nationally, for an initial period of fiveyears. This would provide the capital to make asignificant improvement to the environment ofthe East Midlands. The RNRP is also looking forfurther partners to support and develop thisconcept both within and beyond the EastMidlands region. For further information pleasevisit our websitewww.riverneneregionalpark.org.Taking this proposal forward would place the UKat the forefront of innovation in addressingclimate change at local level, support thegovernment’s objectives and provide a simple andtransparent process linking taxation to tangibleprojects. This is Northamptonshire’s chance toset the standard for others to follow ourcommitment to improving ourcommunities’ environment.This diagram shows in more detail how the Regional Park model will operate to deliver benefits at subregional level and provide greater opportunities for engagement and choice with UK stakeholders. Italso shows how the established RNRP partnership and range of existing initiatives, acting as a pilot,will add value to the core funding.FUTURE PROJECTSFERMYN WOODSThe Fermyn Woods International Arts Project is an exciting programme bringingreputed professional artists deep into the heart of Rockingham Forest to createnew works, undertake research, explore new ideas, and lead on educationprojects. The project will make optimal use of the currently semi-derelict pair ofstone built cottages in ancient Fermyn Woods at the northern end of theRegional Park.The cottages will be renovated to create accommodation and working spaces onewill be used for longer residencies (3-6 months) and the other becoming an officeand space for shorter residencies and visiting artists.14PPhase 2 of the project will extend into thegarden, expanding the ‘outhouses’ in the form ofa cutting- edge oak built workshop/ studiospace. The property hopes to use a reedbed foulwater system with wood fired heating utilisingtimber from the adjoining ancient woodlands.An old bread oven will also undergorefurbishment (imagine homemade pizzas withtoppings fresh from the garden!), so with theproposed on-site vegetable plot, good, local foodwill always be on the menu!!This project responds to a need created by thegrowth of renowned Fermynwoods ContemporaryArt, and its required expansion beyond its muchlovedhome of The Water Tower in Brigstock. Asuccessful programme of educational projectsand events has evolved on this site, naturallyspringing from the richness of art that has cometo the gallery, and Rosalind Stoddart,Fermynwoods curator’s desire to make thisaccessible to all through learning. The WaterTower will remain a gallery space but its’established ethos and ambience will spill out,deeper into the surrounding woods from its newbase at Sudborough Green. In future there is thepotential that in the future this project couldexpand even further with a cutting-edge neweco- building in the nearby Fermyn WoodsCountry Park.The artists residency programme will explorethe inter-relations between Art, Science,Technology, Development and the NaturalEnvironment. Environmentalists andarchaeologists will converse with artists asthese disciplines are explored through creativemedia. Fermynwoods’ interests in theenvironment (both rural and urban),engagement with the community andcontemporary practise will develop in theorganisation’s new home.To date, an inspiring schedule of artists hasbeen drawn up, including Richard Woods who‘wraps’ buildings in daring retro designs, andwho will be wrapping the Sudborough GreenLodge roof (an interesting sight given this ‘wild’setting!) Jacques Nimki, who researches plantlifethrough art, will be making the most of thewonderful array of weeds currently inhabitingthe cottage gardens to make furtherinvestigations, whilst working with children fromCorby. Also planned is a project with theGerman artist, Laurenz Theinert, involving light,performance and sound.The Fermyn Woods International Arts Projectwill provide opportunities for a wide range ofgroups, from schools and students in highereducation to those who are disadvantaged andsocially excluded, local communities and visitorsto the county. Rosalind Stoddart is keen to hearfrom anyone who would like to be involved.The project is a collaboration with FermynwoodsContemporary Art , The Forestry Commissionand RNRP.15


SPARCPROJECTTHE SPARC PROJECT PROMOTES THE IDEA OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS INRIVER CORRIDORS. NINE PROJECTS ACROSS SEVEN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ARECARRYING OUT PROJECTS THAT DEMONSTRATE PARTNERSHIP WORKING IN RIVERCORRIDORS TO IMPROVE NATURE, CULTURE, HISTORY AND REGENERATION.THE RIVER NENE REGIONAL PARK (RNRP) PARTNERSHIP HAS SECURED FUNDING FROMTHE LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP (LP) SCHEME BY THE HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND (HLF).THIS WILL BE USED BY THE PROJECT TEAM AND PARTNERS TO PREPARE ANDIMPLEMENT A LANDSCAPE STRATEGY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OFSALCEY FOREST AND YARDLEY CHASE.The LP scheme would unveil these hiddentreasures, whilst maintaining, whereappropriate, the intrinsic character of a hiddenforest with a rich depth of history; treasures tobe discovered.Salcey Forest and Yardley Chase are seen as ahigh profile gateway to the RNRP which providea link to these major environmental assets,exploring the previously hidden areas of theproject - through physical activity or exposingknowledge to be gained about the site to localcommunities and visitors.The Landscape Strategy will be informed by a:■ Conservation and Management Planconsisting of a Biodiversity, Archaeology andLandscape Character report■ Audience Development Plan identifying theinterests and requirements of the localcommunity, users and visitors■ Access Plan designed to broaden accesseither physically or indirectly to the area,extending opportunities for education andrecreation, and increasing communityparticipation in the management anddevelopment of the site.■ Training Plan identifying partner trainingneeds, training requirements to support avolunteer and community participationprogramme, with work placements etc.■ Masterplan and Business Proposal of thearea.This overall plan will be submitted to the HLF asa stage 1 full bid by 1st October 2007.The project has involved the collation of existingdata on the project area, and has enabled theRNRP to establish important communicationchannels with a large number of individualsinvolved in the site, from the community to landowners and specialists with an in-depthunderstanding of the underlying layers ofthe site.Collating and analysing all this data,information and shared ideas has enabled theLandscape Partnership Projects Officers to drawup number of exciting ways to take aprogramme of projects forward to the nextstage. This list of proposed projects will form amasterplan for the area that is currently beingrefined.Proposed projects include:■ Creation of a landscape scale biodiversityenhancement area, including possibility forrestoration and establishment of new multifunctionalhabitats to link woodlands,including the creation of new woodland,grassland and wetland features.■ Developing an interpretation centre and trailwhich will protect and provide access to thoselandscape features related to the support ofmilitary activity in World Wars I and 2 and theCold War period. Trail to incorporate MP3players/ soundtrack/ tales describing this partof history of site- mainly based around MODarea. Link to RNRP website with maps andother resources available to download.■ Arts and Media projects. This would be anongoing programme of multi-disciplinary artsand mixed media works or events across thesite and would incorporate local, regional andnational artists of significance. Helping createa cultural identity for the entire project area,‘revealing what is hidden’ and so incorporatingarchaeological/ historic/ traditional arts andcrafts themes.The RNRP partnership will be working closelywith and informed in kind by a project steeringgroup, comprising of: Compton EstatesManagement Services, Forestry Commission,Northamptonshire ACRE, SouthNorthamptonshire Council, Ministry of Defence,the Wildlife Trust and the RNRP projectStakeholder Steering Group.Projects that are being delivered by the RiverNene Regional Park as part of the SPARCproject include the innovative EnvironmentCharacter and Green Infrastructure Suite - aseries of interactive maps that enable people tofind out about the environment, and theopportunities available to enhance it. Changes inthe Nene Valley are also happening as part ofthe project. The area between WellingboroughEmbankment and Summer Leys Nature Reservewill be made accessible through thedevelopment of a ‘greenway’, for cyclists andwalkers to get from the town into the rural heartof the Nene Valley. A study is also proposed forthe River Nene between Wellingborough andWansford, looking at how the area is used foraccess, recreation, and economic uses. Thisinformation will help to plan for a sustainablefuture for the Nene Valley, providing tangiblebenefits for people, nature and the economy.Experiences from these projects, and otherprojects being carried out by our partnerorganisations across Europe, are sharedthrough seminars which include talks and visitsto project sites. These seminars mean that ideascan be shared beyond each country’s boundaries.AMSTERDAM SEMINAR21-22ND NOVEMBER, NETHERLANDSHosted by the Institute of Geo- and Bioarchaeologyat the University of Amsterdam, theseminar focussed on historical andarchaeological landscapes, and the in-situpreservation of archaeological remains in thesoil. Site visits to archaeological sites meantthat the impact of river and wetland projects onarchaeology that would usually be invisibleunderground could bee seen and understood.LANGENHAGEN SEMINAR, 12-13TH MARCH,GERMANYThe city of Langenhagen, host for the event, issituated on the River Wietze. A small meadowhas been restored, and improvements tobiodiversity and access to the river haveresulted. The project team at Langenhagen werekeen to ensure that the ideas behind this smallscale project were taken into account in the planthat is being written for the river, and that lotsof similar projects would take place on the RiverWietze. Visits to various sites along the river,including a wet moorland area, and a watertreatment works meant that the river and itsuses were understood. Delegates were able totalk to the people writing the plan for the RiverWietze, and share ideas developed throughcarrying out their own river management projects.On the 10-12th September, the River NeneRegional Park will be welcoming partnerorganisations across Europe toNorthamptonshire, to learn more about greeninfrastructure, wetland creation, and the waythat the River Nene Regional Park plans anddelivers a wide range of environmental projects.This will culminate in the “Growth Challenge”event on September 12th showcasing the workthat RNRP have delivered since the beginning.This will be chaired by Tomorrows Worldpresenter Phillipa Forester and attractingdelegates from throughout the region and beyond.16 17


WEBSITEAn important tool in the Regional Park’sengagement is its website. The current site hasbeen used as a platform to disseminateinformation on the projects, events, pressreleases and news articles. The informationavailable on the site has had to cater for a widerange of users including general public,environmental and planning practitioners anddecision makers at a strategic level. This websitehas been identified as one of the key parts of theRegional Park’s communication and engagementprogramme and has subsequently receivedfurther investment for the development of a newsystem to build on the success of the existingRegional Park website. The new website is underdevelopment and boasts some exciting featureswhich will potentially expand the current list ofengaged organisations and individuals.The flexibility of the new site will open up manyopportunities to engage new and existingpartners and the website is in line with DisabilityDiscrimination Act (DDA) regulations.The ability to create Members Areas is aparticularly exciting and useful new function;EVENTSA MAJOR PART OF MAKING THE RNRP CONCEPT WORK IS COMMUNICATINGWITH THE VARIOUS SECTORS THAT FORM ITS ‘AUDIENCE’.‘THE CHARACTER OF GROWTH’ 2-DAY EVENT23RD AND 24TH NOVEMBER 2006Held at Rockingham Speedway, day one Whatdoes it mean to Landowners and Farmers? wasin association with Country Land & BusinessAssociation (CLA) and the National FarmersUnion (NFU). The purpose of this event was toprovide an update on and establish engagementwith the development of the Regional Park andthe strategies of the Local Delivery Vehicles(LDV’s) and establish engagement with newpartners. Over 75 landowners and farmers fromacross Northamptonshire attended.Day 2 attracted over 100 major decision makersrepresenting key partners that have beeninvolved in the development of the suite since itsinception in 2002, it heralded the official launchof the Northamptonshire Environmentalmembership is free, and individuals andorganisations will be able to ‘sign-up’ to theRNRP at varying levels, depending on the natureof information that they have an interest in.Members will have access to different areas ofthe website, and will receive corresponding newsupdates and from the team; following this editionof Space, it will become an electronic publication,and form part of a series of E- bulletins regularlysent out to members.The site also builds on the interactiveEnvironmental Character Assessment and GreenCharacter and Green Infrastructure Interactivesuite, which sets a new benchmark thatrepresents a crucial step in enabling a proactiveapproach towards the environment at a subregionallevel.Key note speakers included Simon Hodgeson(CEO Forest Enterprise), Henry Cleary (DeputyDirector, New Homes & SustainableDevelopment, Department for Communities andLocal Government), Mark Felton (RegionalDirector East Midlands, Natural England),Anthony Streeten (Regional Director EastMidlands, English Heritage), Peter Neal (Head ofEnabling and Delivery, CABE Space), LouiseJohnson (Chair of the Regional Park’sStakeholder Steering Group and Milton Keynesand South Midlands Environmental Quality ofLife sub group) and Jason Longhurst from RNRP.Infrastructure suite. This groundbreaking seriesof stuidies on Northamptonshire has beenrevised and updated since its original launch, andcan be accessed from the Regional Park site.The new website is also part of a series of relatedsites due to be launched currently including aNorthamptonshire Biodiversity site and the EastMidlands Green Infastructure Network (EMGIN)site (where most recently people have been ableto book places/ provide feedback on and interactwith information about ‘The Growth Challenge’Event on 12th September). Also in the pipeline isa Regional Parcs site.CONNECTING PEOPLE & SPACES, 24TH APRIL2007, PERA INNOVATION PARK, MELTONMOWBRAY, LEICESTERSHIRE.The RNRP hosted an event in partnership with EastMidlands Regional Assembly (EMRA) on the themeof ‘DELIVERY OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE (GI) –DELIVERING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIESIMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLEIN THE EAST MIDLANDS’Within the East Midlands, EMRA’s EnvironmentGroup has been working with partners to ensuredelivery of GI at the regional, sub regional andlocal levels. A database of stakeholders nowexists through correspondence with regional andlocal governmental and non-governmentalorganisations. This will form the basis of a GreenInfrastructure Network (GIN) for the coordinateddelivery of GI across the region. The event sawover 150 delegates attend to celebrate regionalGI achievements with the following:■ Formal launch of “Green Infrastructure forthe East Midlands - a public benefitmapping project”■ Launch of a Green Infrastructure Network(GIN) for the region.■ The programme launch of a series of regionalseminars for planners and developers to raiseawareness about GI.READ MORE ABOUT THE ABOVE EVENTSAND DOWNLOAD PROGRAMMES FOR EACHDAY AT www.riverneneregionalpark.orgAND GO TO EVENTS.RNRP’S NEXT MAJOR EVENT AT THIS LEVELIS’THE GROWTH CHALLENGE’, 12THSEPTEMBER 2007 AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL INNORTHAMPTON.The event will be to demonstrate the idea that weall have a part to play in planning environmentalgrowth, and the benefits of a ‘joined up’ approach.Aimed at people and organisations responsible forleading, shaping and developing green space toachieve growth, the event aims to provideopportunities to look into the future and seewhat is available to shape everyone’s role ininvesting in Environmental Sustainable Growth.THE TWO COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT POSTSWITHIN THE RNRP, THE LAND ADVISOR (INPARTNERSHIP WITH THE WILDLIFE TRUST),AND THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT WORKER (IN PARTNERSHIPWITH NORTHANTS ACRE) FORM AN IMPORTANTFACTOR IN THIS AREA.Survey training days have been initiated by theLand Advisor which are invaluable to volunteerprogrammes. Cleanup days have helped evoke afeeling of ‘ownership’ of greenspaces withincommunities, and the Community Worker’sprogramme of Accessing Greenspace Open Days,have reinforced the Regional Park’s message.Three workshops were also delivered as part ofthe Audience Development work within theYardley Chase/ Salcey Forest HLF programme.The Community Development Worker heldConsultation sessions in Village Halls at threelocations across the Project Area. Local heritage,conservation and community groups, localschools and craftspeople were contacted andinvited to these where they could view apresentation on the concept behind theprogramme, ask questions and were invited to fillin a questionnaire to provide their feedback.Springing from the valuable role of the GICommunity Development Worker has beenanother scheme currently in development, butsoon to be launched. Working in partnership withNorthamptonshire ACRE, this project has, via‘Accessing Greenspace’ open days, events,presentations and consultation programmes,been developing a community network to promoteawareness of the Regional Park and support thedelivery of Green Infrastructure projects withinrural communities; helping to bring GI from aregional, strategic level, to a community base.Working at this level identified a need for a projectplanning tool. This should be aimed at parishcouncils, community groups, schools. Aninnovative Environmental Toolkit has beendeveloped to meet this purpose, and is currentlybeing trialled.THE RNRP ALSO CONTINUED ITS ENGAGEMENTWITH THE BBC BREATHING PLACES CAMPAIGNTHIS YEAR, AND ATTENDED THE 2007SPRINGWATCH EVENT IN PETERBOROUGH’SCENTRAL PARK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THEWILDLIFE TRUST FOR BEDFORDSHIRE,CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND NORTHAMPTONSHIREAND PETERBOROUGH.Thousands of people from an extremely diversebackground and location came to the event wherethey could take part in activities such as nestbuilding, making bird feeders, leaf collecting andpetting a collection of unusual-looking sheep. Acolourful "tree" was created on a huge boardinside a marquee and its leaves were made up ofpeople's pledges to do something new that wasgreen. The RNRP repeated its ‘Design YourFantasy Outdoor Space’ Postcard Competition,and received a wide variety of inspirationaldesigns from over 100 children. Prizes of ‘daysout’ at three of the Regional Park’s top projectshave consequently been awarded.18 19


NEWRNRP PUBLICATIONSRIVER NENE REGIONAL PARKA COMMUNITYINTEREST COMPANYACE CLIMATE CHANGE RNRP REGIONAL PARCS GREEN INFRASTRUCTUREThe following four documents were formallylaunched at the Growth Challenge event whichwas hosted by RNRP and attended by a widerange of UK and EU partners, along with this,the final printed version of SPACE. To helpreduce carbon emissions and save naturalresources, the next edition will be madeavailable in digital form on the RNRP website.ACE - THE ACADEMY OFCOROPORATE ECOLOGYACE, our new publication on The Academy ofCorporate Ecology, sets out the rationale andvision for another of RNRP’s exciting range ofSignature Projects. ACE can best be describedas a “knowledge and experience exchange”, witha series of demonstration projects and a visitorand exhibition centre housed in an iconicbuilding in the Regional Park. It picks up on theRNRP core themes and aims to be a “centre ofexcellence” that will facilitate the sharing ofknowledge and experience between thebusiness and education sectors and enable theprinciples of sustainable development to beembedded in the UK.The proposal sets out the policy frameworkwithin which ACE will operate, both in terms ofthe regional initiatives in Northamptonshire andthe wider sub-region, and shows how ACEsupports a wide range of national policies onSustainable Development and skillsdevelopment, all fundamental to achievingSustainable Development.CLIMATE CHANGEThe Climate Challenge, described in more detailin this document, is RNRP’s innovative offer tothe Government, and to partners, to linktogether the two key, but presently separate,national initiatives on Climate Change. Theproposal is that RNRP would use an allocationfrom Green Taxes that the government will levyon business and individuals on energyconsumption beyond their allowances, todevelop and implement environmental initiativesthat will also provide tangible social andeconomic benefits.The document is available in full onwww.riverneneregionalpark.org.REGIONAL PARCS/RNRPThis document reviews the establishment anddevelopment of RNRP and considers itssuccesses. Starting at the other end of thedocument, and reading towards the centre, itmakes a case for the logical development of thisinnovative, but tried and tested concept, by theestablishment of a network of Regional Parcs,based on the RNRP model, both in the UK and inpartnership with our EU colleagues. Itcharacterises the main elements of a RegionalParc and the advantages of this approach toother organisations who can benefit from ourexperience in Northamptonshire in thedevelopment of a transparent, efficient andeffective partnership.DEFINING GREEN INFRASTRUCTUREGreen Infrastructure (GI) may be defined anetwork of multi-functional greenspaceprovided across the Sub-Region. It is set withinand contributes to a high quality natural andbuilt environment and is required to deliver‘liveability’ for new communities.This document was published to address thelevel of interest in GI, now nationally recognisedas an integral part of the planning anddevelopment process, setting out the conceptand methodology as a model approach forothers to follow. The development of GI inNorthamptonshire is regarded as an exemplar,having been developed from the pioneering workon a countywide environmental characterassessment (ECA) and is now available as aninteractive ECA&GI suite on the www.rnrp.orgwebsite or CD, which automatically updates thedata where internet access is available.The document “Defining Green Infrastructure”examines the methodology for the threedifferent levels of use, Regional, sub regionaland local, and sets out not only the key stagesbut the learning points from each. For otherorganisations contemplating commissioning a GIstudy, this provides a very clear model, theadoption of making significant savings in timespent on research, development andimplementation, and also the overall costs. Inaddition, adoption of the Northamptonshireapproach, which has been tried and tested,allows studies from different areas to bebrought together and integrated at astrategic level.RNRP BEGAN IN 2003 AS A PARTNERSHIP OF ORGANISATIONS WITH A RESPONSIBILITY AND ACTIVE ROLE INENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AS A RESPONSE TO THE GROWTH AGENDA. AT THIS TIME, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE HADBEEN DESIGNATED AS ONE OF FOUR GROWTH AREAS WITH A NEED TO ACCOMMODATE 100,000 NEW HOMES AND JOBSTO RELIEVE THE PRESSURES ON THE SOUTH EAST.The RNRP partnership adopted a proactiveresponse to this agenda, focussing theseenergies and expertise on ensuring thatdevelopment in Northamptonshire would besustainable and that both new and oldcommunities would provide an improvement inquality of life. This partnership approach provedto be extremely successful and not only helped toestablish RNRP as an environmental deliveryvehicle, but contributed to its ability to work with,and contribute to, the development of strategicgrowth area planning.RNRP’s role in taking forward the EnvironmentalCharacter Assessment, and subsequently theGreen Infrastructure (GI) strategy have been atthe heart of a long term programme ofdevelopment. These documents have contributedto the national agenda on the integration oftraditional and green forms of infrastructure intothe growth area development plans and isembedded in the Regional Spatial Strategy.The work on Environmental CharacterAssessment was used to inform the directions forgrowth for the Sustainable Urban Extensions inthe growth towns of Corby, Kettering andWellingborough and the strategic approach to GIhas ensured that access to the countryside fromand between towns will be enhanced. In addition,RNRP has consistently delivered new andinnovative environmental projects, which havetangible social and economic benefits, such asStanwick Lakes, the new Country Park and theTree Top Way at Salcey Forest, which providesvisitors with a completely new perspective on thewoodland and has transformed its viability as apublicly accessible greenspace.The success of RNRP has been its desire to planahead and anticipate the forthcoming needs oflocal communities and the government. Itsproposals for addressing Climate Change and theestablishment of an Academy of CorporateEcology are just part of the plans to makeNorthamptonshire one of the most sustainableand forward thinking counties in the East Midlands.Another key strand of the development of RNRPhas been to adopt a business like approach to themanagement of the environment, and torecognise that there is a need to ensure thatthere is the fullest engagement between thepublic, private and third sectors. In this respect,not only has RNRP provided the means by whichthese could come together, where they might nototherwise do so, but RNRP made provision fromthe outset to benefit from the active involvementof a Stakeholder Steering Group (SSG), and aManagement Steering Group (MSG). These haveoverseen the ongoing development of RNRPand the adoption of formal business andassociated plans.Fundamental to the business plan has been theneed for RNRP to become an independentorganisation, focussed on the five core themesthat have been adopted. These are; ProjectEnabling, Placemaking, Centre of Excellence forEnvironmental Initiatives and Innovation,Champion for Green Infrastructure across theregion and Enabling Carbon Offset andAddressing Climate Change, and are at the heartof all the work undertaken.million of growth area funding which has beenmatched to invest £12 million in environmentalinitiatives in Northamptonshire. All of theseprojects are bringing about change on the groundand enhancing the environmental assets that wealready have.In determining this, a range of options wereconsidered, although it was clear that it did notsee itself as a profit making company. There waspotential for some holding of land, managing orpossibly owning parks or similar greenspace,engaging with a wider membership, possibly as ameans of raising funds, the potential for activityaround climate change, joint ventures involvingland development (which may also involve someacquisition and disposal of key sites) andreceiving land under S106 agreements fromdevelopers, either for long term stewardship oronward disposal.Possible alternatives to the CIC included theestablishment of RNRP as an Industrial andProvident Society, either a co-operative or asociety for the benefit of the community. The CICoption most closely fitted the criteria andprovided the ability to hold assets on behalf of thecommunity. This dovetailed into the evolvinggovernment thinking, as set out in theGovernment White Paper “Strong and prosperouscommunities”, on the desirability of reducing theamount of top down control from centralgovernment and enabling citizens andcommunities to play their part.RNRP’s status as a Community Interest CompanyConsequently, it was agreed by the SSG that will be formally launched at the SPARCRNRP would become a Community Interest conference, taking place in September 2007,Company (CIC). Since then RNRP has created a which will showcase the work of RNRP since itsGreen Infrastructure of environmental projects inception in 200320across Northamptonshire and secured over £621


Institute forGeo-and BioarchaeologyFAREWELL TO JASON LONGHURSTAfter more nearly five years at the top of the tree,RNRP’s award winning Project Director JasonLonghurst, has decided to uproot to pasturesnew. Jason is moving onto become ExecutiveDirector for the Black Country Consortium – whohope to benefit from his drive, entrepreneurialspirit and passion for sustainable environmentalgrowth in the same way RNRP has done.Jason became involved with RNRP in 2003 havingdeveloped a strong pedigree in the developmentand delivery of strategic, sustainableenvironmental planning. His career spanssignificant roles in Landscape architecture,working in partnership with organisations suchas the Environment Agency, Anglian Water andthe Highway Agency. He has been instrumental insecuring almost £10 million in grant funding andalso headed up Northamptonshire CountyCouncil’s Natural Environment department.Jason has pioneered the RNRP model, playing apivotal role in developing and championing thegroundbreaking initiative - providing sympatheticlinks between and urban and rural environments.During its establishment, Jason has had theunenviable task of battling with multi-sectorpartners to make the environmental sector morebusiness minded. Over the past four years he hasstrived to create a fresh approach to achievingself-sustaining projects.Maintaining motivation in often challengingcircumstances has not always been easy,however Jason has deeply held beliefs aboutRNRP’s potential: “RNRP offers a pragmaticapproach and presents a concept that will ensurethat Northamptonshire benefits from SustainableDevelopment, as opposed to simplyaccommodating growth”.“There is a need and an opportunity for RNRP tobe able to take a national lead on the futuredelivery of Regional Parks. The principles oftransparency and partnership have been at theheart of RNRP’s work throughout which hasmade the model a success.”Too much has happened in this time to mentioneverything, but Jason feels that the mostsignificant achievement was seeing RNRP comeof age as a formally constituted independentbody. This demonstrated the faith that partnershad in the concept and the organisation, as wellas acknowledging their hard work and dedication.He is also extremely proud of the pioneeringwork in the development of the EnvironmentalCharacter Assessment and Green Infrastructuresuite, which has set the standard for themanagement of the wider urban and ruralenvironment and the integration of theenvironment into mainstream planning. Theconcept of the Regional Parc, the partnershipapproach to environmental management and theinnovation of tools such as the ECA&GI suite nowlead the agenda in the UK and EU.As he hands over RNRP’s reigns to a new ProjectDirector, Jason wishes Kevin Stannard and hisnew team every success and has every faith thatthey will continue to build on the foundations laid,to deliver RNRP’s vision by 2016.For Jason, his next big idea is establishing anetwork of Regional Parcs. This would maximisethe benefits of partnership working, achieve morewith a common approach and provide the mostefficient and effective way for environmentaldelivery vehicles to make a tangible difference toenvironmental, social and economic wellbeing.So it looks like this certainly won’t be the lastwe see of him – more of an “au revoir” than afinal goodbye!LANGENHAGENWORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITHRingkjobing AmtInstitute forGeo-and BioarchaeologySPACE –CHANGINGFACES: KEVINSTANNARDAND THE NEWBOARDTaking the helm and driving RNRP forward on it’sjourney is Kevin Stannard, RNRP’s new ProjectDirector. Kevin joins RNRP from the ForestryCommission. A founding member of the SSG, hehas been a staunch supporter of the RNRPconcept since inception. Kevin brings with him awealth of expert knowledge on woodland andlandscape management, including majorconservation projects, provision of publicrecreation areas and restoring ancient woodlandsto their former glory, as well as a passion forarchaeology.With more than 15 years’ experience gained inthe Forestry Commission from Scotland down tothe New Forest, (the last seven of which beingbased in Northampton and the surroundingcounties), there is little that Kevin doesn’t knowabout sustainable development.Praising Jason Longhurst for the fantastic job heand the team have done in developingpartnerships and establishing RNRP into themodel it is today, Kevin sees his role as moredelivery-focussed. He is looking to cement thefoundations of RNRP and maintain themomentum and motivation of RNRP and partnersto continue to deliver environmental sustainablegrowth, contribute to climate change andchampion the concept of Green Infrastructure (GI).Kevin believes passionately in RNRP and sees itas one of the best, most proactive deliveryvehicles for achieving sustainable growth. Hisplan is to ensure that RNRP maintains its profileand develops its high standard of delivery to meetthe aspirations of the Vision and the milestonesin the business planKevin said: “The Forestry Commission has beenusing the concept of Green Infrastructure (GI) fordecades, so with the launch of the Growth Areaswe were very well placed to contribute to thedevelopment of recreational and conservationspaces which deliver tangible environmental,social and economic benefits.“Our initial involvement was in Salcey ForestPhase 1, delivering infrastructure improvements,closely followed Phase 2 which delivered theexceptional tree-top walk. So, I have alreadyseen first hand how the RNRP model works andam keen to drive this forward to further developRNRP as the leading environmental deliveryvehicle in the region.”Looking to what the future holds, RNRP faces anumber of new challenges including theestablishment of a new board, SSG and twoGreen Infrastructure Delivery Groups. Taking theCommunity Interest Company (CIC) forward ishigh on the agenda as is establishing newpartnerships further a field – outside the regionand throughout Europe. Above all Kevin and thenew Board will ensure that RNRP continues totake an innovative lead on environmentalmanagement.for birdsfor peoplefor ever22

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines